Post-2020 has seen an abundance of new music born from the era defined by its unpredictability and cynicism. Hastings-based punk band, Kid Kapichi, adds their sophomore album, ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ to the musical time-capsule that captures the slew of maddening absurdities woven into the UK’s sociopolitical fabric.

“‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ summarises a feeling of disappointment, I guess. Like that of losing at the final hurdle of a game show. But instead of being the contestant yourself, you’re stuck behind a TV screen screaming the answer whilst the player makes wrong decision after wrong decision. It’s felt like at every junction of change in the last decade,” frontman Jack Wilson tells GEM. “We as a country have made horrible decisions and as a result, we can only look on and wonder what we could have won if we weren’t so short-sighted.” 

While the album’s production is more polished compared to their first release, ‘This Time Next Year,’ the four-piece has managed to maintain the recognizable rawness that defined their 2021 record. They draw on an array of themes, from mental health and xenophobia to in-work poverty and British nationalism. Kid Kapichi is refreshingly upfront, not bothering to hide their meaning behind metaphors or flowery lyrics. They’ve had a lot of resentment brewing up and not only do they want you to know it, they want you to feel every bit of it with them.

‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ begins with ‘New England,’ a guitar-heavy opener featuring Bob Vylan. It’s a song about British nationalism, xenophobia, and political apathy. It feels like a contagious bitterness that infects every part of the listener’s body as the record plays on. “Is it that you can’t change / or you won’t change?” Wilson demands. 

The album moves into the upbeat and energetic arrangements with ‘Rob the Supermarket’ and ‘5 Days On (2 Days off).’ ‘I.N.V.U’ pokes fun at social media facades and lifestyles that beg for the envy of their onlookers. The album’s tireless, fiery sound slows down with ‘Party at No. 10,’ stripping back the heavy arrangements in favour of an acoustic guitar and Wilson’s softer vocals. It’s the gentlest of the tracks and shows how Kid Kapichi is capable of producing different presentations of their strong song meanings. However, their rage gets loud again with ‘Cops and Robbers,’ a direct address to the inadequate response to global warming and billionaires’ hand in it. “The time is running out, the pressure’s building up / They say they’re working fast, but fast ain’t fast enough / We tried debating, but they just don’t give a fuck.”

The album gets hazy and psychedelic with ‘Tar Pit’ before slowing down again in ‘Never Really Had You.’ The latter is Kid Kapichi’s most tender track, a piano-based ballad that mourns a love that’s run its course and leaves unanswered questions in its wake. While the rest of the album has sharp, angry edges, ‘Never Really Had You’ feels like someone’s point of exhausted vulnerability. It’s heartfelt and soulful, and shows the most sentimental side of Kid Kapichi that we’ve ever seen. 

‘Smash the Gaff’ is the heaviest of the album and as the second-to-last track, it feels like the band has decided to use this song as a way to expend all their fury before the record closes. Kid Kapichi thinks of themselves as a live band above anything else, and it’s fair to say that this is the track that would immortalize the shows’ energy levels in their fans’ memories forever. The record ends with ‘Special,’ a sultry, poignant conclusion that brings in all the cinematics for an appropriately grand ending.

Kid Kapichi’s sense of identity is evident in ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won,’ with their signature gritty guitar tones paired with tongue-in-cheek lyrics drenched in rightful cynicism. However, the four-piece’s broadened landscape of sound has successfully resulted in a record complete with a very human assembly of disdain, disappointments, and tenderness.

‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ is out now. Follow Kid Kapichi on InstagramTwitter, and Spotify.

Written by Bernice Santos

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