Photo Credit: Zoran Orlic
Release Date: April 16, 2013
3. Kone (Radio Edit)
Jonathan Van Herik
The -based band have released three full-length albums since their formation in 2008, and in that time the band’s music explores the themes of relating to others, seeking out meaning and attempting to make sense of surroundings despite the fact that relationships fall apart, patterns grow into habits, and that our world manages to change so quickly that sometimes it’s unrecognizable at almost any given moment. With that in mind, their music generally seems to possess the anxious and uncertain dread that seems inherent to the modern condition. Interestingly, as the band was about to start writing and recording the material that became their latest EP, Kone, long-time member Steve Shelley amicably left the band, making the band a quartet. And yet despite Shelley’s departure, the band has maintained an ability to create music that forces audiences to listen and pay close attention remains a vital part of their work.
The first track off the 30 minute, 3 song EP is the album title track “Kone”, and it begins with the distant, ringing and rumbling feedback that feels and sounds much like a brewing storm, coming quickly on the horizon. The sound builds up in intensity as a tightly syncopated rhythm comes out from the fray — until you start to hear some eerie, staggered guitar chords. Vocalist Brian Case sings through reverb as the rest of the backing band sounds as though they’re barely holding on to a brewing, tempestuous fury. Although quite atmospheric, the song is propelled forward by percussion and a super taut bass line. And then the song ends with the same feedback in the beginning with each instrument seemingly (and slowly) fading away. In some way, after listening to the track, I immediately thought of — in particular “” off of Priest = Aura. Indeed, much like the Church’s Chaos, the song manages to sound like a force of nature imposing its will upon you – it’s an experience, really.
“Kontact,” the second track, buzzes and hums with an angry, sweaty, feral intensity. Case chants lyrics through reverb as the drums pound with a primal intensity. Guitars are fed through a shitload of effects pedals and are layered to the point of being towering. Much like the title track, “Kontact” is written with several distinct segments. It’s difficult to discern when there’s a chorus or verse and honestly that’s not the point. Sounds quite a bit like Interpol’s Antics does it not? But when you listen to the songs, they feel as though they could have been improvised in the studio – the musicians sound like they’re jamming out and going whichever way the particular groove moves them (and this album is particularly groovy to the point that you can go into a bit of a trance).
After repeated listens, the songs on the album reveal something that I hadn’t noticed before – the surfer rock sequence during “Kontact” and the incredible, explosive drum solo shortly after that; the chiming guitars towards the end of “Kone” and more. As an album, it keeps pulling me back for more. It’s a compelling, forceful album that just doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve listened to this year.