While all the Brits are extolling the virtues of Kava Kava, the United States haven’t had the ability to get their new album, “Maui” until now. Starting off with intense dance-music (ntense as in Junior Senior, not the 300bpm dance marathon tracks), Kava Kava’s rich instrumentation and solid production ensure for a tremendous experience. The tracks on “Mauyi” are mini-epics, using the extended lengths of some of the longer pop-dance mixes and create an entire environment for their track. Slowly opening “Space People (a&rlien), Kava Kava relies on a guitar-sounding synth and an infectious hook for the body of the track, and begins the key tension on the disc: with the average tracklength being near six minutes, Kava Kava have the undesirable burden of continually innovating and subjecting new elements to their music, all while keeping some eye on the framework laid on the earliest tracks. Their success in the funk-laden “Terrorists” shows their virtuosity in that department; much like the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim before them, Kava Kava can bring in a multitude of different influences and aural googahs and not necessarily seem insincere.
“Maui” is not an album for the fair-weather listener, or someone who just waits to zone out while a CD is playing in the background. To assume that Kava Kava is one of those ordinary dance acts would be to sell them short, a double offense considering the fact that unlike most dance and dance-themed albums, “Maui” has its own legs. While tracks like “Sicfuck” may have melodies that insinuate themselves wholly into the minds of Kava Kava’s listener base, it does not give those same people carte blanche to think that the band is a one-track pony. Even if the title-track sounds seamless, the sheer amount of work necessary for crafting a number of constituent parts – synths, drums, vocals and a hell of a lot more – into a coherent and cogent sound without seeming stilted in the least – is astounding.
The richness of “Maui’s” experience stems from the out-of-leftfield quality about the album; the fact that anything is possible on this discs over seventy-one minutes of music. Each of the tracks on “Maui” are custom-made for the radio, and regardless of whether the act ever makes it to fame in the United States, individuals that even casually mention that they are into dance music should begin a hunt to find this album, one of just a few positive discs in the genre (including Erasure’s Nightbird) to come out in 2004.
Top Tracks: Bankjob, Don’t Stop The Music
Kava Kava – Maui / 2004 Chocolate Fireguard / 13 Tracks / http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kavakava / http://www.chocolatefireguard.co.uk / Reviewed 16 February 2005