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Kayo Dot - Coyote CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.85 | 173 ratings

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5 stars Upon listening to a new Kayo Dot album, the only thing that I find predictable is that I'm going to like it. A lot. And once again that has held true for Coyote, the bands fourth album, which is a very good thing because this is without doubt one of my two most anticipated releases for 2010 (the other being Kayo Dots Stained Glass EP, go figure). Its also true that, for the fourth album in a row, Toby Driver has taken the band in a new direction.

On first listen of Coyote two things stand out. The first being that this is probably the heaviest album Kayo Dot has made since the debut Choirs of the Eye, this despite the fact that all traces of metal, be it distorted guitars or screaming vocals, have long since gone. The second thing is that the electric guitar seems to be a thing of the past now as well, or at least on this release at any rate. What we have is an album of dark, menacing and unsettleing atmospheres created through Driver using the bass guitar as a lead instrument, holding both rhythm and melody whilst the violins, saxophones, trumpet and keyboards add a whole range of colour and feel to the compositions with all of them alternatly leading or supporting the smooth and dissonant melodies that make up this amazing album. Though this album is clearly dominated by the bass guitar, Drivers decision to give leading roles in different places throughout this album to all members of the band, even drummer David Bodie, is clearly a good move as the counterpoint created by the mulitple roles of the instruments has led to a feel of a reel group effort on this album, whereas its predecessor Blue Lambency Downward could at times be accused of being mostly a duo effort from Driver and violinist Mia Mastumiya.

As far as this albums musical direction is concerend, the best description would be to say that its a development of the previous album but with a greater emphasis placed on the free jazz aspects. I've also heard the term "goth-fusion" being placed on Coyote and Driver himself cites early goth bands like Faith and the Muse and The Cure as prime influences on his creation of this music. Now, in the more obviously melodic parts of the alum this influence is easily decerned in Drivers bass playing but I wouldnt really say that it extends too much to the other musicians, probably because an ensemble of bass/violin/saxes/keyboards/trumpets wasnt exactly the usual set up for goth rock.

I've mentioned that the album posesses an unrelentingly dark atmosphere, to a level that would make Univers Zero circa Heresie proud, and thats something that might put people off. But thast fitting for this album as its lyrics concerne the last days of life for someone that knows that they are dying and Coyote is not just dedicated to Yuko Sueta but she wrote the lyrics for it as well. Now, for those that don't know Yuko Sueta was a visual artist and close friend of the band who died of breast cancer this last year and the lyrics are her personal refflections on death. With that thought lodged firmly in mind the heartfelt, haunting singing of Toby Driver on this album never ceases to give me goosbumps.

I dont know what it is about Toby Driver but his projects, particularly Kayo Dot, never cease to amaze me at every turn and Coyote is no different. Its dark, haunting and utlimetly unsettleing sound and feel blows me away and I make no apology for once again giving 5 stars to Kayo Dot album. This will probably remain as the best album of the year that I will hear and more than that it is going down as one of the best albums I've ever heard and all but matches the bands classic debut Choirs of the Eye.

sleeper | 5/5 |


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