From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA comes a band that is brand new to us here at With Just A Hint Of Mayhem and therefore entitled to appear in the Mayhem Virgins series they are called Von Kaiser and they are pretty damned good at what they do. What they do is classy synthwave that can just as easily grace a club, a film soundtrack or just listening. Last years “Dead By Dawn” I understand sets out to pay homage to supremely talented Director George A Romero. In the process it also shows, for me, how much Von Kaiser love Giorgio Moroder and to be fair don’t we all.
David M, Jake V and Kaylin H all contribute their skills on keys and vocals while David also plays some pretty decent guitar. Their new album ‘Landline’ is out now and it wears its pop-rock, synth, electro heart on its sleeve. It definitely has influences drawn from the second British Invasion which included Soft Cell, Duran Duran, OMD and Depeche Mode. But on tracks like “Jetpacks” (which is currently my favourite followed closely by “ETA”) there is a touch of 80s AOR, while the vocals on “Armitage” could come from Panic At The Disco. But while I can hear a number of influences Von Kaiser are definitely an original band with a crisp, fresh sound that merits a wide audience. An earlier single and the title track from the album “Landline” has an almost spooky hook and makes good use of some telephone samples. The lyrics are very clever and “Landline” speaks of a massive snowstorm in which “The flakes look like falling stars, between the cars”. Is that not a beautiful use of words in a lyric? Genius! “Crystal Lake” might be a long lost OMD tune, but it is also of the 21st century.
Von Kaiser know their 80s stuff, the album has a strong 80s feel and their Bandcamp bio says “Von Kaiser is a collection of four musicians who don’t just want to remember the music and movies of the 80s, they want to celebrate it”. They certainly embrace it and celebrate it in style that makes you want to get out and party. The band were formed as recently as last year, which makes their new record even more of a great achievement. Listening to it I felt that this was a band that had been together a lot longer than that. I believe that Von Kaiser are one of my new favourite bands, can we get them to the UK sometime soon please?