The Damage is done

IT'S never an entirely happy lot even when you've shifted millions of albums and have plenty of money in the bank, it seems.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 5:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 3:23 pm

Hence new album Damage, which brings Bristol bunch Kosheen to Plug tomorrow for the final date of their UK tour.

"It's a process of catharsis," says singer Sian Evans. "Recycling personal history and living experiences is therapy. It has been nearly a decade since we began this journey and I have personally developed as a woman and as a musician."

Damage is the third album from a trio who lyrically touch on changes and struggles in relationships and landscapes as recurring themes on a collection that references the electronica of their debut Resist and the progressiveness and darkness of its sequel Kokopelli.

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They set about creating a subtly futuristic soundtrack for the 21st century, the likes of recent single Overkill taking in personal/political frustration or the early '80s synthy Chances and swaggering majesty of closer Your Life.

Some of the inspiration came from very close to home. "I wrote Cruel Heart about my son," says Sian. "It's like looking in a mirror watching him going through all the stuff teenagers go through – a mixture of heartbreak and freedom as he steps further away from me into his own life.

"We have several faves including Damage for its dynamic – the deep intro and the soft but powerful vocal. It's one of those tracks that can translate into many different sentiments and be relevant in many different situations, from home to environment – although it's actually written from the perspective of a person stuck in an abusive relationship.

"Wish You Were Here is a swansong to the people who have touched me in life and are no longer in it – it reflects a deep feeling of anger and solace."

It comes after professional upheaval also. After Kokopelli went gold in the UK Kosheen left their label in the midst of the Sony BMG merger, signed to Universal Germany for most of Europe (excluding the UK), and returned to the studio, with new drive and vision.

They also continued to perform around the world, including first visits to China, Taiwan and the Middle East, as well as returning to Russia and Australia, Romania, Serbia, Latvia and Estonia where Resist turned them into superstars.

In summer 2001, Kosheen cemented their reputation as a world-class live act - defying the rule that dance acts don't do gigs - by performing to a 20,000-strong crowd in Serbia, the first international band to do so since the trouble in the Balkans.

"On the plane on the way over there we were all looking at each other going why the f***k are we going to Yugoslavia?" recalls former Glaswegian indie kid Markee Substance.

"We didn't have a clue what to expect. And suddenly there was 20,000 people all singing Catch back at us. Me and Sian just looked at each other on stage as if to say, f*****g hell! What's going on?"

Forward wind and it seems Sian, Markee and Darren Decoder continue to travel well.

This time they've a five-piece live band and have introduced visuals into show illustrating urban life and Damage.

Damage is out now on Moksha Recordings.