Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kylesa- Ultraviolet

If you missed out on Spiral Shadow, correct that error. You're missing one of the great hard rock LPs. However, that LP is just one aspect of Kylesa's music. Ultraviolet is another. It's both more connected to the band who recorded Static Tensions and Time will Fuse its Worth, and yet it stretches out to new territory. It's not further along the continuum, so much as it operates at a different point on the spectrum. Which means, you have to take each LP from them  at its own merits- not as the "next one".
So, This Kylesa LP opens with Exhale, about as doomy as they get, in that southern Sludge way. A hammering slow tempo, shouted crust punk vocals, Psychotronic guitar solos, tribal stomp drums. In other words, exactly what you would have predicted from Kylesa if you hadn't heard them in 6 years.
Then, track two, Unspoken brings in the psychedelic doom- like Baroness' Yellow and Green, if crushed into a Paranoid-era Black Sabbath song. Hello, Laura even sings a bit like Ozzy. It's got a great gypsy tune under all the sludge, though, speaking to an alternate reality where Kylesa would've played mournful folk songs at Eastern European funerals.
But then, Grounded snaps you back with a southern boogie riff that Raging Slab, Monster Magnet and Molly Hatchet all would have killed for. Until about a minute in, when the Godflesh grind beats the boogie down. This ain't no party, mister, it's a posse.
After that, We're Taking This is more crusty and harsh than most Tragedy songs. Other than the spacey interludes between poundings, this could have been a Damad song.
Long Gone, though is brilliant in the way that I first loved on Static Tensions- a trippy drone, punctuated by the best tribal Tom drum breakdown this side of Can's Yoo Doo Right. This has no "pop rock" to it, though it is melodic, and it does swing. It's just good music.
Likewise, What does it Take is a great bit of psychedelic Punk rock, that takes me back to 1987- bands like Bomb, early Jane's Addiction, Butthole Surfers, and Alice Donut.
Steady Breakdown, again is far more straightforward than Kylesa usually is. a slow to mid-tempo grind with an almost gentle watery breakdown like Diamonds and Rust era Judas Priest running into Piper at the Gates of Dawn era Pink Floyd.
Believe it or not, Low Tide is almost a Cold Wave song- a relative of half a dozen Cure and Joy Division songs, but still definitely Kylesa. Amazingly convincing, I've not heard a heavy band, apart from Deftones able to conquer that "mopey, but transcendent" sound.
Then, Vulture's Landing exploits the Kim Deal impression that Laura can pull off, and sneaks a Torche-styled Sludge monster riff wrapped up in a pop-alternative candy shell. Like a Python wearing a feather boa- you laugh and then it crushes you.
Quicksand is another endlessly melodic song with energy and groove- like Torche, again, but not walking the tightrope of a tight song structure. It's like feeding Van Halen 50 hits of blotter acid and a few ounces of weed- Stoner Rock, to the max.
Finally, Drifting is just that- a lovely wallow with echo guitars buzz synths, and an almost Cocteau Twins verse riff.
Is the LP good? Sorry, it's far, far too deep, and layered for me to make that call. I've only heard it three times, so far- and I suspect it will be about ten times before I can tell what I would call the over all vibe. It's a Kylesa LP. If you're willing to go with them, there are rewards, but again, know that you're venturing into the unknown with them- every time. Yes, this straddles lines between hardcore, Doom, Stoner, Alt rock, and psychedelic- and jumps decades from the late 60's to the early 21st century, sometimes in the space of three bars, but how do you rate something like that? What's the yardstick for greatness when you cannot get a handle on the unit of measurement? Get the idea?
Right now, I think Spiral Shadow was better, and it seems about par with Static Tensions. Get back with me in a month, and maybe it'll have changed.

No comments:

Post a Comment