Kutosis: the three faces of Fanatical Love

Kutosis: the three faces of Fanatical Love

Cardiff art punks Kutosis spent a week launching their corking debut album ‘Fanatical Love’ .  This kicked off with a launch at Chapter arts on the 7th of November, featuring 12 films from local film makers who gave their own interpretation of each song on their album. Directors Included Ellen Campesinos and Welsh Bafta winner Matt Brown alongside Tom Moviemaker (who runs regular screenings at the arts centre each month) and other submissions from local and even American directors. This was followed by a launch gig at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach on the 11th of November.

I attended both events; this is my humble documentation and impression of each event married to my thoughts on Kutosis’ long awaited debut long player out on Barely Regal Records now! The three faces of Kutosis if you will…

Fanatical Love: The Album

Four years in the making, and through numerous members Kutosis have finally settled upon a winning line up. Wisely taking time to make sure this record was just right and reflected itself as a living breathing album rather than a collection of previous singles, Kutosis holed themselves away. As a three piece(Ian, James and Ben), their sound is leaner, meaner and more assured, indeed they’ve matured wonderfully. Their debut album produced by former Test Icicle Rory Attwell depicts a outfit who have grown from humble beginnings as a twitchy punk pop outfit whose tuneful jangle and political sloganeering reminded one of both the Buzzcocks and the Clash, to an act who are as happy putting their foot on the pedal of infectious angular punk noise as they are in brooding electronic dappled majesty.

The first half of Fanatical Love fires by at a breakneck speed.One minute opener ‘#asongtostartanalbumwith’ has a title that hints at the lads ironic sense of humour, then follow up ‘Salton Sea’ batters its way through oncoming obstacles careering down the motorway and into view on the back of thudding and coursing buzz guitars. While the marvellous creeping paranoia of ‘Shadows’ shoots past in twitching, almost existential, foreboding of Ian’s frayed at the edges Biafra-esque shots, while drums clatter, guitars serrate and baselines slither, jousting pleasingly for our entertainment. ‘Skin’ opens up on a bed of bruised distortion. Ian’s spoken polemic is Welshness somewhat redolent of John Cale’s spoken parts, before being a damn good kicking by a punk rock beat that slides down and bounces off the walls like static. There’s an unease here, like a man constantly running away from clear and present danger. ‘Watch out for artful dodgers/They always come in threes/Just like biblical Wiseman’ spits Ian on ‘House Sounds’. It’s a central cut, whose rhythm bounces around like a Mannequin that’s been ECT’d back to life in some fantastical dream. Continuing the theme of utter creeping fearfulness with a alienating consumerist culture it clatters, buzz and sparks through the sewers of city in the dead of midnight like early Mclusky.

‘Devo’ too could be an offcut from the last Future of the Left album. It’s the one moment here that could be a little too close too homage, but it bites with such ferocity that no one can deny its rhythm and utterly thrilling chant-along chorus. Is it about Devo the group or the movement though? It’s in this thunderous opening portion you can hear the sharp judder of clear influences Future Of The Left and Les Savy Fav running through their sound.

But it’s in the records dark underbelly that you’ll find hints of Public Image Limited, early Pixies and even Nirvana‘s In Utero. ‘Lights That Lead Us’ is the gateway to this unsettling yet exhilarating haunted house ride to nightmare, low slung guitars. James’ bubbling bass and now monotone vocals give room for an exhibition in post punk brutality that has more in common with other local types The Victorian English Gentlemen‘s club. The refrain of ‘no more razors let’s pretend’ stares death in the face and slams the door.

Meanwhile the fractured menace of Miniatures’ has psycho vocals, electronic bleeps like a phone ringing off the hook, brooding rhythms; all of it interrogated by vocals that bleed with isolation and brutality, ‘the coffee shakes the fingers/how was I to know? It was so feral in your eyes’ the chorus is barked out for emphatic emphasis.

The Lynchian themes of one of the highlights ‘Battle Lake’s’ exhibits twitching riffage and intensely vivid lyrics. These are complemented by Ben’s colossal drums that usher in ominous riffs that loom ahead like dark black clouds; the ‘awooo ooo ooo’ refrains whistle through your head like a shrill wind. ‘Fanatical Love’ is a work of growing maturity, with delicious nods to Kutosis’ frenetic past it opens up endless possibilities for the band, and documents a quickly maturing outfit who have produced one of the most fascinating debuts from a Cardiff band this year.

Fanatical Love: The Film Screening


Director Tom Betts gives obvious nods to 70’s spy dramas, and recalls The Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’; something he acknowledge in his pitch of the Skin video as “the sabotage of spy movies”. The plot is littered with spy shenanigans featuring our heroes Kutosis in various disguises across well known Cardiff locations including the bay and parts of the city centre. It’s amusing and ingenious!

Kutosis: Skin from Tom Betts on Vimeo.


Commissioned by a community project that gives young people the chance to get into film making, the accompanying movie takes a similarly unsettling view of the song, reflecting the uncomfortable consequences of kids who want to grow up too fast. You know, you’ve seen them drinking White Lightning in the park of an evening?! Here the issue of sexualised teenage culture is brought to life.

K U T O S I S – Miniatures from Osian Williams on Vimeo.

Battle Lake

Graham Neale used archive and found footage to bring to life a soundtrack for one of Fanatical Love’s standout tracks. Visions of war and destruction are intercut with our female protagonist’s creeping paranoia in the heart of the city.

Battle Lake from KUTOSIS on Vimeo.

Lights to Lead Us

A key track on the long player Lights To Lead Us is given a nightmarishly Lynchian theme by its local directors….And very successful it is too…

Lights To Lead Us from KUTOSIS on Vimeo.


Directed by Ian Smith. This film was apparently filmed in Penarth, or was it Barry?! Anyhow, an amusing marching business man, whose existence is threatened by the weather, is finally disintegrated by lightning (apparently the actor involved risked hypothermia too!). Smartly filmed, and deftly handled, it offers a great compliment to the claustrophobic frenetic pace of the Kutosis track.



James Doherty’s brilliantly amusing video for the hidden track ‘Moon’ features ZX Spectrum style graphics in a riot of colour and celebrity guest appearances! Here’s the Invaders from the moon have come to destroy Cardiff. Only Professor Lucha and some special celebrity friends can help the city in its darkest hour…

Moon by Kutosis from James Doherty on Vimeo.

A couple of the videos worked less well. One for House Sounds that’s out of focus stroll through the city is visually difficult to watch. But all in all, the idea of getting local video directors involved in producing their own interpretations of the tracks on the album really lend it an extra dimension so everyone should be applauded who got involved

Fanatical Love: The Clwb Ifor Bach Launch
So to the live launch, as a respectable turnout huddles up towards the stage of Cardiff’s legendary Clwb Ifor Bach. After a slightly disappointing support set from VVOLVES, Kutosis take to the stage. The affection with which this audience holds for these local lads is palpable. They work their way through a set mainly made up of prime ‘Fanatical Love’ cuts; from the frenetic rhythms of ‘Salton Sea’, via the infectious paranoia of ‘Skin’ to the serrated existential menace of Battle Lake. They show their increasing confidence and experimentation when Ian dispenses with the guitar and takes up two drum sticks. While the bassist mans the guitar, Ian proceeds to beat out a rhythm which is almost Islet-like. They even weigh in with a few oldies, including the brilliant ‘Islands’ from their EP from last year. Its ferocious pace is augmented by barked-out militaristic commands. This brings on an outbreak of head banging in the front row.

By the end, this attentive crowd badgers them into an encore. They shyly look at each other, as if to give themselves permission to play, before lurching into a excellent rendition of the juddering ‘Devo’ complete with chant along chorus.

Another successful night that reaffirms the impression that Kutosis are a burgeoning outfit, with a greater sense of self-confidence born from months on the road and in a studios. Their future is exciting and the present is fucking electric!

Whichever facet you personally manage to experience,  my own personal Kutosis launch week came with a lesson: “Intense, brooding and ass-moving; you need ‘Fanatical Love’ in your life!”

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.