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Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.77 | 198 ratings

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5 stars Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue

Kayo Dot's sophomore release is a lesson in development, and is, in several ways, a quite different beast from their debut. The sound on this album seems to focus more on its punches than its actual delivery and development leading up to the punches--which was the case with their previous effort, Choirs of the Eye. The result is an album full of surprises and departures from their previous effort, and this can be nothing but a good thing.

The album is much more tonal and also much darker. It feels more dense as well--this being especially evidenced on the tracks "Gemini Becoming the Tripod" and the latter 12 minutes of "____On Limpid Form". The album works just as well on the whole as the first did, and while it is not as emotionally stirring, it proves to be every bit as interesting and satisfying.

As has essentially been said, the album is, once again, a masterpiece, but a very different one from their first, which was, as Toby put it, was "much more of a studio album than Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue is.

Now, the music: The album starts off with a bang: "Gemini Becoming the Tripod" is a hellish feat of music that escalates like a time bomb into pure, athletic devil-territory as Toby and a guest vocalist scream bloody terror atop some very polarizing chords; it's all very unsettling, which is a good word for this song, I think. It proves to be, quite possibly, the most tense opener I've ever heard on an album.

The next song is way more relaxed, and reminds me vaguely of "Wayfarer" off of their first; although, as mentioned before, with much more attention to subtlety. It builds its way up slightly and then lets off for what is likely the most peaceful spot on the album, and then it drops away in a curtsy, bowing down for the majestic and powerful "Aura on Asylum Wall", which will prove to be the most "accessible" song on the album, if any of it can, in fact, be called this. It contains some very nice jazzier spots--with great trumpet and flute work (and obviously the amazing clarinets), and eventually it mounts its horse and rides on the wake of some terrifying Grindcore/black-metal noise, which closes off the track.

The last bit of the album is quite a hefty piece of pie to swallow. "___On Limpid Form" showcases some mellow, beautiful, detached songwriting for about 4 or so minutes, before it slowly recesses and unwinds into something completely different: The guitar wailing begins, and it doesn't let up--rather it escalates (much like the screams in the first track did), into something terrible (in an awesome way of course). I love this section, which many reviewers have noted as being unnecessary or uselessly experimental or long-winded, which may be a point to note if you are planning on checking this album out; however, I feel this escalation session is provocatively intense, and--yes--it has even caused me to break out in a sweat before while listening. It is emotionally draining, spine-tingling, and remorseless. Powerful.

"Amaranth the Peddler", which is the final track on the album (again, it is but a five-track affair), is like "____On Limpid Form", but simultaneously, it is the opposite. Let me explain myself: The song, again, starts off with a short, relieving piece, which is very quiet and peaceful, before it unwinds into more otherworldly adventures featuring the guitar and some wonderful violin playing (if you find yourself particularly enjoying this section of the album, then I highly recommend you listen to 60 Metonymies by Tartar Lamb, another side project of Toby Driver), and then...that's it. It wanders off, much like one who is lost in the woods as the sun is setting, and we are left wondering as to the conclusion of this album. Honestly, it sounds rough on paper perhaps, but after the tense breakdown at the end of the last track, it is a beautiful relief, and a wonderful closer.

On the whole, this album is every bit as good as their debut; however, it is not at all for the faint of heart. The sounds and abstractly vague passages later in the album could be a real stinger to some listeners, while the looser compositions and overall punchier sound may throw some fans of the debut off-balance. Nevertheless, I personally would still deem this a masterpiece; however, I'd like to note that it is not quite as perfect to me as their debut is. Still, it is nothing close to disappointing, and, in fact, is very close to perfection in my eyes. Once again, Kayo Dot scores 5 stars.

Figglesnout | 5/5 |


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