As winter overtakes us, Kate Boy‘s electro-pop shines through the long nights. The Stockholm-based duo makes delectably slinky, synth-heavy songs with glossy melodies and anthemic choruses. I caught them on their year-end east coast swing for the release of debut album One (IAMSOUND Records). The cozy Rock & Roll Hotel was a modest setting for the cinematic energy of Kate Akhurst, who danced back and forth across stage, grasping hands with the ebullient crowd.
“Northern Lights,” the band’s first single, showcases sleek production and widescreen emotional sweep. As Akhurst’s vocals steadily climb to the refrain — everything we touch turns to gold / never ever let go — the roiling drum patterns of Markus Dextegen counterbalance the euphoria with a deep sense of unease.
While Kate Boy’s skittering synths recall the motifs of CHVRCHES and the Knife, Akhurst’s voice commands attention in a different way. There’s an icy edge to her call in “Higher,” a darkness prowling on the edges of “Open Fire.” The result is both hypnotic and supremely danceable.
Kate Boy has a few shows lined up in Akhurst’s native Australia in the new year. ‘Til the band returns for another stateside visit, pick up One (CD / vinyl / digital), and sign up for the mailing list to stay up to date on the latest.