London King’s Cross Scala

[B]Kent[/B] aim to make seriousness beautiful. ..

The time [I]seems[/I] so right for Swedish five-piece Kent. Like current darlings Muse, [a]JJ72[/a] and Coldplay, Kent aim to make seriousness beautiful. Their lyrics are heartfelt, their guitars huge statements of intent, every tune is epic and they’ve probably listened to Radiohead once or twice. Though they’ve been signed for six years and have just released their fourth album, Kent have probably been praying for a time like now.

Tonight’s packed Scala is buzzing with similar excitement, the adoration of the mainly Swedish audience obvious. If you don’t listen too closely, it’s easy to understand why they’re in a frenzy too. Singer Joakim Berg has the perfect hair, perfect skinny-rib top and perfect hint of jewellery while all the band can do the vacant moody look fairly well. Even the odd song (notably one-time single ‘If You Were Here’) is gorgeous enough to merit comparison with the likes of Muse, all pent-up passion and the sort of wistful dreaminess only possible with angular cheekbones.

But the details just aren’t right or even vaguely current. The tunes are better suited to dry ice than broken hearts and the real influence appears to be ‘Boy’-era U2. This is stadium-friendly beauty; billowing smoke, angst-ridden poses and ballads (see ‘Quiet Heart’) so overwrought they might as well come with free lighters.

Just think what Kent would be capable of if only half that solemn pomposity was exchanged for some genuine feeling or intimacy.