Haunting, spiky, melodic, Celtic noir. Beautiful melodies with intelligent, biting lyrics about love, death adventure and more. Think French chanson meets PJ Harvey snogging The Handsome Family in a back alley somewhere.



Kinkajou were formed by Scottish ice maiden Polly MacLean and English owl-lover Andy Chapman in early 2001 after an encounter by the beer barrel at a party. Feverish writing, recording and gigging as a duo ensued, culminating in the release of "Candlelight & Scars" in December 2001 on our own Happy Accident label.

From this base, the band has gradually expanded, with Al Firrell (bass and cello) joining in the summer of 2002 and Sharon Forbes (violin) and Andy Astle (guitar) joining since. We released our first full album "Seeping Beauty" in 2005, also on Happy Accident.

Live Work & Radio

Kinkajou have gigged extensively around the London club and small festival scene, including dates at The Borderline, the 12 Bar, the Troubadour, Blackheath Halls, Lewisham People's Day and Crystal Palace Bowl.

We recorded some live tracks that were featured on Tom Robinson's show on BBC Radio 6 and are currently getting airplay on several local and national radio stations in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Our songs are our strength: emotive, intelligent and dark lyrics, unusul musical twists and turns and a variety of settings that shows the influences of everything from French chanson to traditional Scottish music to Tom Waits, 70's rock and more. And simply gorgeous melodies too!

The other thing that sets us apart is the amazing connection we always make with audiences when playing live. We believe in making our gigs as entertaining as possible and there is always a strong streak of black humour that surfaces when we play.



Written By: Polly MacLean

You’re like me
You like to make love in graveyards
Life over death
A victory for breath
At least for a little while

Hot and cold
Trembling hands and brave hearts
Skin over stone
Flesh over bone
And a darkness that seems to smile

I’ll meet you where the path diverges
Baby I share your urges
The world doesn’t care
The world’s over there
And here is where we belong
In the wrong

Shadows fall
The restlessness starts to fill you
You’re burning inside
I know that you’ve tried
To bury the things you need

Day by day
Normality tries to kill you
But you’re still alive
And passion can thrive
Where danger is guaranteed

People sleep
Ignoring the silent changes
A little bit older
A little bit colder
With every day’s dying light

You’re like me
You’re touched by the hands of angels
You’re touched in the head
You fall out of bed
And stumble into the night


Written By: Polly MacLean

Here we stand.
You smile at me and take my hand.
But history is gone from me:
Now all I know is what I see,
And you’ve a kindly face, I must admit -
But I can’t make the features fit
Into the spaces in my mind.
You’re one more thing I’ve left behind.


I’m afraid
That much of me is deep in shade.
I strain, but I can’t seem to see
These memories you share with me,
So I’ll just watch and listen while you weave
A story that I must believe,
A landscape that you say is ours:
Am I allowed to pick the flowers?

Please don’t cry
Because I can’t remember why
I mean so very much to you -
Although it’s obvious that I do.
I hate to be the cause of such distress -
I’d like to bring you happiness:
Perhaps I ought to lie to you.
(Is that what those with memories do?)

We embrace.
I stroke your hair and kiss your face.
And play my part as best I can.
You really are a lovely man.

Trial Separation

Written By: Polly MacLean

There’s a wicked wind coming off the sea tonight
And it won’t be long before the lines are down
I’m trying to make contact while I can
Sitting huddled in my ancient dressing gown

And city life seems very far away
I can’t imagine what you’ve done today
I think I may have been away too long
I won’t say that to you in case I’m wrong

A fox flashed in the headlights of my car
I squinted through the darkness and the rain
It lay there twitching on the soaking road
I knew I had to end the creature’s pain

I’ve never been the owner of a gun
Somehow I did what needed to be done
Necessity will always find a way
Well, darling, how was office life today?

And now of course the ‘phone line has gone down
Our conversation cut off in its prime
When last this happened, it took weeks to mend
I think I may be losing track of time

The never-changing, ever-changing hill
That towered above my childhood, towers still
I don’t think I’m cut out to be your wife
You’ve never climbed a mountain in your life


"Candlelight & Scars" - 6 track mini album (2001)
"Seeping Beauty" - album (2005)
"Trial Separation" - radio single released in The Netherlands and Belgium.

Set List

We can play sets of anything up to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the gig. A typical set list would be for 30 mins or so and might include:

The Plunge
The Fugitive
Gordon McCue
Trial Separation
Lay Me Down
3 Examples

We rarely do covers: when we do, it is usually for a special occasion. Songs we've covered include Ava Adore (Smashing Pumpkins), I'm A Boy (The Who) and Maroushka (Artur H)