Studio Album by released in 2005

Mother review

Kubb is a talented bunch, headed by singer and songwriter Harry Collier

Kubb seems to be the name on everyone's lips at the moment. Favorable comparisons have been drawn with everyone from Keane and Coldplay to Radiohead, Muse and Jeff Buckley, with a smattering of Freddie Mercury and U2 thrown in. Yet one thing's for certain – they're a talented bunch, headed by singer and songwriter Harry Collier, whose path to fame has been nothing short of remarkable. He was born in Liverpool, but raised in Tobago in the Caribbean, where his love for music first developed. On returning to England he became acquainted with Faithless' Rollo Armstrong, after singing “Happy Birthday” to him while working in a London cafe, and soon after came the birth of this band. Kubb were duly formed and together with the help of renowned producer, Youth (Crowded House, Embrace, The Verve), set about delivering the catchy singles, Somebody Else and Remain. Debut album, Mother, has been preceded by another single, Wicked Soul, which looks set to catapult them into even more acclaim. It's an insanely catchy crowd-pleaser, sung in a falsetto style, that is piano-led, melodic and upbeat, crossing the indie-pop boundary with effortless aplomb.

Catchy singles and album tracks

Opening track Somebody Else starts off as a mix of blues with a slightly West Coast US Beach Boys/Byrds feel to it, before launching into a rocky chorus. Frontman Harry Collier, whose brooding mugshot adorns the record cover, is able to turn his voice from lush swooning to mad screaming while all the time remaining resolutely in tune. Grow is an epic indie ballad aided by a string section and features a fine vocal performance. It comes in stark contrast to the bouncy, breezy style of If I Can't Have You, another surefire crowd-pleaser that mixed a lively percussion with more piano and some nice guitar. Similarly chirpy and decidedly more indie-rock is second track, I Don't Mind, which finds Harry's vocals at their most easygoing and plays like an anonymous sexual confessional. The chorus hints at a 60’s sensibility that ought to make it easy to dance to. The atmospheric Chemical showcases a more pensive side to Harry's songwriting and is one of several powerful ballads that strike a strong emotional chord, combining the heartfelt intensity of Keane with something a little more downbeat, a la Radiohead. This is the true moment of class on Mother. Likewise Sun, another personal and emotive slow-builder that builds towards a sweeping high guaranteed to blow you away.

Each track on Mother has strong emotional intent and dark undertows

Many things have gone into making Harry Collier the singer and songwriter he is today. Some have been good, some bad, and some weird. But with a life as lived-in as Harry's, all have been, in some way, things to learn from. Perhaps that's why the first album Mother from his band Kubb is so emotive. Very much an autobiographical account of Harry’s convoluted life, Mother documents many highs and lows in the guise of bitter but glorious tunes and towering, orchestral songs. Each track has strong emotional intent and dark undertows. This is a very impressive debut from Kubb. There is plenty here to keep any piano-rock fan happy. With songwriting of the quality evidenced on Remain, Somebody Else and especially Wicked Soul, combined with Collier's voice and able musicians, Kubb should be capable of making the leap up to longevity and national consciousness. The band’s brand of intelligent, playful music will be giving Coldplay the shivers before the year’s out.