Band Profile: Kitchens of Distinction

Posted: January 4, 2015 in Alternative, Band Profiles, Shoegazing
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The English trio Kitchens of Distinction were considered a precursor to the shoegaze movement of the late ‘80s. Formed in London in 1986, they were often compared to The Chameleons and Cocteau Twins, due to their swirling, psychedelic sound. The group was also known for their blunt lyrics and outspoken views, which most likely contributed to their lack of mainstream success. Taking their name from a home décor company that specialized in kitchens and plumbing fixtures (guitar player Julian Swales saw the ad on the side of a bus), the group was active for ten years before disbanding in 1996. During that time, they released four albums and several EPs and singles.

The group’s first single, 1987’s “The Last Gasp Death Shuffle” was named single of the week by NME and got the band signed to One Little Indian Records. This led singer Patrick Fitzgerald to put his career as a medical doctor on hold and devote his full attention to the band. Their first two singles for the label, “Prize” and “The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule,” made it on “NME Writers’ 100 Best Indie Singles Ever” list. Although the future looked promising, the mainstream music industry didn’t embrace the band, largely due to lyrical content. (The song “Margaret’s Injection” was a fantasy about killing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.) Also complicating matters was that Fitzgerald was openly gay and the lyrics often reflected this, which didn’t sit too well with the general public. Although finding moderate success on US college radio in the early ‘90s, the group faltered in the mid ‘90s. They were dropped by their record label during that time and decided to disband. They reformed in 2012 and released an album, Folly, in 2013.

“The Last Gasp Death Shuffle” was the band’s first single and sounds like a combination of early Echo & the Bunnymen and Talking Heads.


The group’s debut album, 1989’s Love is Hell, produced the single “”The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule.” It found the group moving towards a more psychedelic sound and is considered “a perfect Kitchens moment.”



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