Thanks to Radiohead's Greenwood brothers paying respects to their unique take on guitar-driven rock music, Kitchens Of Distinction may at last receive the recognition they deserve. Arguably more famous during their time for their homo-erotic lyrics and cover art; their music often took a back seat in the media's eyes. The sad truth is they made some of the most beautiful, emotionally-charged music of modern times. Early releases such as the 'Elephantine' EP demonstrated their melodic intent but despite excellent reviews they never quite achieved to reach beyond a cult following. Their sound was original but could be best compared to A R Kane's dub-heavy atmospherics tacked onto the dreamy soundscapes pioneered by The Cocteau Twins.
Kicking off with 1989's 'Love Is Hell', their first and arguably best album, their sound was distilled almost perfectly in a collection of nine songs. Oddly, in the opening track, 'In A Cave', Patrick Fitzgerald's vocals veer dangerously close to Michael Stipe territory but as the song reaches its conclusion, his voice chooses to become yearning rather than whining. 'Time To Groan' documents their tender side to perfection; Julian Swales's atypically subtle chiming guitar patterns becoming the perfect foil for Fitzgerald's tale of what appears to be a failed marriage. 'Shiver' impresses similarly with its clever use of dub effects; the conviction of the lyric to "make my flesh shiver" aptly describes the feelings generated from hearing the track. 'Prize' is an anthemic single featuring a lyric of "So do I get a prize for remembering that first time. Do I get a prize for remembering his name?" must be one of the few overtly gay sentiments ever committed to single form but the fact that the song is tremendously exciting and exhilarating is even more important. These four tracks combine to make a terrific opening for an album and in truth of the remainder only the shouty vocals on 'Mainly Mornings' could be referred to as a disappointment with the 6-minute plus 'Hammer' providing a thrilling, thunderous finale.