Kelly Kemp & Bangers / El Morgan & the Arteries - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Kelly Kemp & Bangers / El Morgan & the Arteries

Split [7-inch] (2010)

Specialist Subject

Seven inches of black vinyl : two bands : two "guest" vocalists : four songs.

It seems so simple, and to be fair it's not rocket science in its approach. Take two of the UK's hardworking and fairly popular punk bands and add to each a female vocalist, each of whom has carved out a niche for themselves in the UK scene. What, then, are the results of this approach?

Well, all four tracks are really good, and both Kelly Kemp and El Morgan have great voices. The former is known to me through her presence in the "punk with horns" No Comply who split up a few years ago and were a favourite of mine, whilst the latter is quite an unknown quantity other than seeing her name in various places, websites, etc. I have discovered that both Kemp and Morgan currently grace a band called Livers and Lungs, who describe themselves as "acoustic country folk" and from a brief listen on MySpace sound pretty good.

However, this single kicks off with, to me, one of the best songs I've heard all year, with Kemp and Bangers performing their hearts out on "Bridges Over Broken Hearts." This track is a showcase for Kelly Kemp's vocals, which have never sounded as good as they do here, with some straightforward but effective musicianship from the Cornish trio. It's catchy with enough melodic punk to give it some "oomph"! Seriously, this song needs to be heard, as it's excellent.

Following this is "Still Our Dream," which tries its best to keep up with "Bridges," yet just falls a bit short; it's still another winner in my eyes and ears, though.

Next comes El Morgan fronting South Wales' the Arteries with "Blah Blah Blah," a raucous run-through with some additional vocals from the Arteries, which is another catchy song to ensure that there is some competition here for the Kemp/Bangers combination.

To bring this short yet enjoyable experience to a conclusion is "Ballroom," which opens slowly with hints of country guitar and a warm, embracing vocal from Morgan before doing an about-turn into a much more punk-fueled sprint towards the finish line, once more with a wonderful vocal performance.

A release worthy of high praise and frequent spins.