Ten years and four albums deep, the story of This Is The Kit — the musical project that holds Kate Stables at its heart, is itself one of time and change and careful listening. It has carried Stables from Winchester to Bristol to Paris (where she’s lived for the last ten years), across tours and festivals and the adoration of her peers: Guy Garvey, The National, Sharon van Etten among them. And it leads her now to Moonshine Freeze, her Rough Trade debut, and her most stunning and accomplished and compelling album to date.
Moonshine Freeze began in the immediate wake of its predecessor, Bashed Out: days after coming off tour last November, Stables and her band (Rozi Plain, Jamie Whitby-Coles, Neil Smith and Jesse D Vernon) headed into the studio in Bristol. “This time I really wanted to make sure that the band was fully involved from the beginning,” she says. “They’re three of my favourite musicians, and what they do with their separate projects and what they bring to This Is The Kit is brilliant. It’s really amazing that they are still up for being in the band. It’s no mean feat of endurance.”
Stables enlisted John Parish (PJ Harvey, M Ward, Perfume Genius) to produce, having worked with him on the band’s debut, Krulle Bol. “He is just an excellent human,” she says. “I love being in his company and learning from him and seeing the way he works. It felt like a good time to work with him again, and see how everyone’s grown or changed or stayed the same. It’s nice to have those cycles.” Aaron Dessner of The National also joined proceedings to feature on six of the album tracks.
The themes and patterns that emerged in Moonshine Freeze encompass ideas of folklore and oracles, memory, language, secrets, superstition, lives out of sync, and “the strange accidental fortune telling nature of the writing process.” Ideas fed by the writing of Ursula Le Guin and Alan Bennett, the African folk stories collected by the ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey, by grey coastal days and the taste of blood and copper coins.