I always liked Kenickie. A lot of people didn’t: the hatred they attracted in the letters pages of the music press and Planet Sound was bewildering in both its volume and intensity. Seriously, for a year or so Kenickie were the favoured target for the vitriol of the indie kids. I think a lot of it stemmed from their calling-card single “Punka”, a glorious blast of guitar pop which sent up the very notion of “indie cred” – it seems some people missed the point and thought Kenickie were claiming indie cred for themselves (having just signed to EMI via Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs‘ Emidisc label), or got the point but interpreted it as an insult to the fans who had supported them when they’d been a struggling indie band themselves. Indie cred is Serious Business for some people.
Not for me, though. I just thought Kenickie had some cracking songs. Frontwoman Lauren Laverne in particular emerged as a rather nifty songwriter, initially in collaboration with guitarist and co-vocalist Marie du Santiago, and later with her (i.e. Laverne’s) brother, drummer and producer Pete Gofton. Completing the foursome was bassist Emmy-Kate Montrose, who also took up the trumpet on occasion.
Here from the days when they still had indie cred (as if it mattered) are the four tracks from the Skillex EP issued on Fierce Panda in 1996, just before they signed to Emidisc. It’s a bit rough and ready, but a good showcase overall. The slightly famous song here is “Come Out 2Nite” which was number one on John Peel‘s Festive Fifty, although for me the best track is “Acetone”, with Lauren on cello (you didn’t know she could play the cello, did you?), featuring in a superior version to the one which later closed their debut album At The Club.