The Kut – “Valley Of Thorns” (Criminal Records/Cargo Records)
Riot. Grrrl. If you don’t remember what these wild wimmin were about then few could ever forget L7, Bikini Kill, Seven Year Bitch and a ton of other feminista rockers that would kick you as hard as they rocked you. Now comes The Kut straight from the gutters of London. Fronted by Princess Maha, who pretty much does it all from managing the band to being their multi instrumentalist front woman, this is the band that everyone is talking about who have taken both the underground and the mainstream press by storm – simultaneously! From national newspapers like The Guardian to the BBC and Planet Rock, as well as the mainstream rock press like Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and being nominated as one of Kerrang!’s breakthrough acts last year, The Kut seem to have captured everyone’s hearts. Formed in 2014 by Maha (a UK Songwriting 2017 finalist), who comes across as less brash (compared to Courtney Love), less crusty (compared to the Lunachicks) and reminds me somewhat of Poly Styrene from 1970s punkers X-Ray Spex, I can see the obvious charm, but it’s also clear to all and sunder that she’s a very hard grafter indeed, steadfastly focused on building The Kut, garnering a Marshall endorsement to increase touring to complement her UK shows as well as playing at an impressive range of festivals like Download, Hard Rock Hell, Camden Rocks, Rebellion, Glastonbudget and Strummercamp. Produced by James Loughrey (Skindred / Def Leppard / White Zombie / My Vitriol), “Valley Of Thorns” is 10 tracks made up of new numbers as well as songs already released going back to 2014, which I guess is good if you’re only just hearing about The Kut! The material is a mixture of Riot Grrrl grunge, modern punk rock and high energy alt rock with Maha shredding both on the guitar as well as on the mike, backed presently and ably by Stella Vie (bass/backing vocals) and Diana Barmann (drums/ backing vocals). Gifted with suave femme sultriness while being able to scream the bejesus out of a banshee as Maha impressively leads her troupe through “Valley Of Thorns”. From the raw punk of the Misfits meeting X-Ray Spex on ‘Hollywood Rock N Roll’, the dirty L7 guitar and stoner vocals lead to the massive winning chorus on ‘I Want You Maniac’ and you know just why Maha is aptly titled Princess cos she really is a songwriting gem! With a charged guitar and heavy thudding drums, the furore gets injected on ‘I Am Vain’ with plenty of trashy punk mixed with hard, punchy alt melodies – and topped by some metal fretboard warbling to boot! But soon bringing in the darkness is ‘Bad Man’ with its naked Riot Grrrl aggression manifest and matched by the verbal abuse (hence warranting that ‘Parental Advisory’ label in no small measure!) bringing the sonic violence to boiling point. Definitely a band that will erupt volcanically soon, “Valley Of Thorns” is, for once, everything the hype sez it is. And thanks to Princess Maha I am 16 again!