Linus Serholt shares such a powerful testimony in “I give up breath never spirit”, the first track on Kvit’s maiden EP called “Earth to Earth” (2016). “They may break my body but my soul’s not mine to give.” It makes me think of Daniel in the lions’ den, or Stephen, the first Christian martyr. What I also really like is how the band breaks out into an instrumental chorus, and how they use the guitars to build to a climax with the words, “Even if the walls are closing in, You won’t see me breaking.” While Kvit play alternative rock rather than heavy metal, the music is marked by a seriousness that prompts me to continue listening
Kvit succeed in rendering a sombre mood. I put it down to how both guitarists use chords to colour their sound, and their choices for overdriven and distorted tones. The guitars have a shrill chime that contrasts effectively with Serholt’s voice.
In “Oh say can you see” we are urged to “stop digging holes, and start climbing ladders”. A synthesizer, the bass guitar and the drums feature heavily at the start, providing gravity “As the walls are closing in….” You can mistake Kvit’s sobering outlook as pessimistic, but then you hear a lyric like, “Time to lift our eyes and see that there is more to life….” It is clear that Kvit ask hard questions, to which there aren’t easy answers. There is a yearning for fulfilment beyond what this world can offer.
An angular guitar riff starts “Earth to Earth”, and immediately, Serholt reminds of Brian Molko (Placebo), with a palpable intensity that drives deep lyrics. There’s a crispness in the overall production that makes me think of another great Swedish band, The Cardigans. A snare drum steadily cracks on while a bass guitar buzzes in support of Serholt’s lyrics: “Why can’t you see that there is nothing in this world that can withstand.” All earthly possessions are temporary but still we gather as much as we can. “Earth to Earth” echoes Scripture, where we are advised to rather “… store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-21). It is also the final track on the first EP.
2017 saw the release of their second EP, “Today Could Be”. In these three songs, the band turns its attention to the individual. He/she is a conformist, but “Today Could Be” expresses the hope that maybe today he/she will break out of that mould. “Shout” starts out as if an alarm has been raised – I particularly enjoy what the guitar does in the opening few bars. The bass contrasts with the guitar here, holding onto notes rather than copying the staccato rhythm. The image I have in my head is of a ship, first ascending with the wave to its crest before crashing down in its wake. I looked up the lyrics: “Shame, shame on you for what you’ve done, Stones will cry, stones will cry….” In the Bible, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees when they instruct Him to silence his disciples (Luke 19:40). The pharisees kept the Law as was handed down to Moses, and did not recognise God in Jesus Christ. If not from the mouths of the disciples, God’s creation would cry out the truth about Jesus’ authority as God’s only Son. Similarly, because we have a living faith, we should not keep quiet, or allow our testimony to be gagged by society. I’d also like to offer this analysis of 2 Timothy 1: where Paul inspires Timothy to be bold.
The character of “Last Breath”, the last song on “Today Could Be” is quite different. Clean(ish) guitars for a start, and a waltz-like rhythm. Forgive me for drawing a comparison with power-pop band, Popsicle, but there’s something that bubbles in their song, “9” that is also present in “Last Breath”. I think it’s the opening strum combined with the drum pattern that took me back to a much-cherished perchance discovery – Popsicle’s third album, Abstinence.
Kvit’s third EP was released on 8 December 2017, entitled “Plat du jour”. The cover photograph suggests that “we are what we eat”, and in this case, whatever we are fed by the media. In “Plat du jour” we are served on minds as flat as plates, uncritical of what is put before us. The keyboard in “And you follow” reminds of how synths take the lead in The Bravery’s self-titled debut album. I apologise for the tangent, but did you ever see the M. Night Shyamalan film, “The Village”? Don’t you think it’s fitting for this song? While for the first two tracks on this EP, there seemed little hope for the individual, “Leaving it all behind” presents a more optimistic outlook. I love the break in the middle, where first a guitar, together with the drums kick in, followed later by the rest of the band into the chorus: “When the time comes, we’re leaving it all behind.” If I compare this EP to the first, it sounds to me like Kvit are more restrained. For me, it’s the mark of a band that are growing increasingly confident in their sound – not having to throw it all in, all the time. “Stuck in orbit” is introspective, Serholt realising that “we might never align”. I like how the dynamics of a relationship are likened to two objects in orbit – a planet and a satellite moon, or a star adrift in a galaxy. The instrumentation is pared down for “Regret is always late”, the last track on “Plat du jour”. Sequenced elements provide the backdrop for a lone voice singing about loss. As the song progresses, the instrumentation and rhythm compliment first the anger at inaction, and then the devastation at the loss. The guitar solo aptly steers the song to an emotional high point before ebbing out with, “… at the end, we all go alone.”
If you enjoy alternative rock in the vein of Puressence, you may also enjoy Kvit. If the three soul-searching EPs are anything to go by, an impactful debut album is sure to follow. Together, the EPs score 7/10.
Written by Karakul
“Earth to Earth” EP
1. I give up breath never spirit
2. Oh say can you see
3. Earth to earth
“Today could be” EP
1. Today could be
3. Last breath
“Plat du jour” EP
1. Plat du jour
2. And you follow
3. Leaving it all behind
4. Stuck in orbit
5. Regret is always late
Linus Serholt (vocals, guitars, keyboards)
Dan Ajanki (bass)
Niklas Wachtmeister (drums)
Robert Serholt (guitars, keyboards)
Label: JONO Media
“Earth to Earth” (EP, 2016)
“Today could be” (EP, 2017)
“Plat du jour” (EP, 2017)
Video for ‘Today could be’
Video for ‘Plat du jour’ (live)
Video for ‘Last Breath’