I don’t know that anyone would have an idea of what to expect from a band hailing from Saluzzo, Italy, but it’s probably not the kind of noisy hairballs that the four-piece known as Kash has spit forth over the last decade. Working exclusively with Steve Albini, the band has created a sound that’s dry and caustic. What they do is full of fury, but instead of sloppy and sweaty, it is neat and tidy, never wasting motions. Comprised of eight songs, their fourth and latest album, Full Of, is equally concise on both a micro and macro level.
Working again with Albini, who went out to Saluzzo and recorded Kash at bass player Paride Lanciani’s all analog Oxygen Studio, Full Of is not unlike its predecessors, but one gets the sense that something has changed. Where once they echoed the dementia of US Maple, for whom the band will profess their love with very little prompting, this latest batch of songs seems more human. “Monster of Fire,” which leads off the album, is propulsive and bears some resemblance to Shellac, but otherwise there is an element of restraint at work that gives the record its power. There is a certain amount of tension in the composure of Stefano Abba’s vocals, with one waiting with baited breath for when and if he is going to let loose. Such abstinence is echoed in the economy of the arrangements. Each track’s sparsity seems by design, as if the band is deliberating attempting to do more with less. This is most obvious on “Hero of Lovers,” which seems almost antithetical to what we’ve—or at least I’ve—come to expect. As such, this approach allows for subsequent outbursts to have more effect, so each little explosion of “Private War” seems more consequential. Indeed, on the finale, “Blood Of,” Abba actually sings of explosions, as if the implication is enough. And it is. With Full Of, Kash manages to make the smallest of gestures mean the most.