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Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.67 | 106 ratings

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4 stars Kayo Dot is too experimental to stick with the same genre or sound for too long. A drastic change from its predecessor, Hubardo, Coffins on Io is nowhere close to being metal, borrowing extensively from eighties new wave with a touch of psychedelic influence. Accessible in comparison to previous Kayo Dot releases, it is far less noisy and harsh, instead embracing their softer side.

Primarily a mellow release, there is not a distorted guitar to be found. The vocals, all clean-sung, take up a central role and I am glad to say that they have improved a great deal since the maudlin of the Well days. Beneath heavy effects, they command the rest of the music, capable of emphasizing and strengthening the feeling already carried in each song. They bring the sprawling opener The Mortality of Doves to a grand peak, and (I point this out mainly because I find it a humorous delivery) they can sound rather sassy in the Library Subterranean line "he drew the pictures of his dream."

A lot of these songs incorporate a post-rock-type, or in a more general sense a buildup of intensity, into the new wave framework. Often times a song will follow one theme for a while until another one subtly slides in. It still shifts between the extremes of noisiness and ambience to a degree, but generally falls closer to the ambient side of the spectrum. Spirit Photography, the ten-minute closer, certainly has a strong basis in ambient, peppered with vocals and saxophone noodling, but it does build up much like the others. Most reminiscent of earlier Kayo Dot is the relatively short Assassination of Adam and the latter portion of Library Subterranean, featuring what sounds suspiciously close to a masturbatory prog instrumental section. Both chaotic and noisy, like the rest of the album, they still cannot be considered heavy or metal.

Coffins on Io places Kayo Dot's experimental tendencies of odd instrumentation, extended song lengths, and overall unconventionality, into the framework of eighties new wave to a good result, one that is more accessible, less noisy, and more vocal-based and mellow. I'm not sure where this falls for most Kayo Dot fans, but I find Coffins on Io an enjoyable release, and it would be interesting if they continued to insert their love for experimentation into the framework of other genres as well.

Insin | 4/5 |


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