With a pregnant Kate Middleton ready to pop at any second, now is a good time for Kate Boy to be out: Anybody trawling the web for the sex of the royal heir with a simple “kate boy” Google search will be treated to a handful of results linking to the buzzed-about Swedish synth-pop group. It’s a perfect case of accidental cross-promotion.
Kate Boy sounds like the moniker of a female soloist, but they’re actually a quartet whose name is a combination of lead singer, Kate Akhurst, and Rocket Boy, a writing and production trio from Sweden who met the Australian-born Akhurst in a pub in Stockholm. They joined forces on the spot and wrote their first single, “Northern Lights,” that night.
Like many other Pitchfork pop acts, there’s a shroud of mystery surrounding Kate Boy’s identity and a bit of an alter-ego at play. Akhurst says Kate Boy is the fifth member of the band; an androgynous amalgamation of them all that represents their homogeneous approach to making music together. A creepy composite of the members’ faces is used to represent this fictional fifth member, who can be seen in all of the band’s black & white press shots and shadowy music videos. Akhurst says it’s to put the music before the visuals, while Vogue clarifies that it’s more about stopping Akhurst’s “beautiful looks” from stealing all the focus away from the band.
Like many Swedish pop acts, Kate Boy’s sound straddles a thin line between commercial and indie. Chilly dark synths and bouncing ball beats fill all three of the group’s hooky singles. “In Your Eyes,” my personal favorite, smolders on opening, then lights up at the halfway mark in a flurry of shiny electronica and artificial drum beats.
Look out for Kate Boy’s debut album some time next year. Hopefully by then, the Splice-like creature from the promo photos will have been locked back in the basement of the band’s PR agency so that the totally hot frontwoman they’ve been hiding can step into the light and give boners to all.