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Kayo Dot - Coyote CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.81 | 198 ratings

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3 stars Coyote is an incredibly dark and bleak piece of music. The music that Kayo Dot has crafted for this album is hardly pleasant to listen to, but there's just something about it that keeps me coming back for more listens. If you're ready for your ears to be assaulted, and possibly come away very confused, Coyote is an extremely intriguing album, and effective in its purpose.

This album is somewhat of a tribute to a close friend of the band, Yuko Sueta, who sadly passed away last year. Toby Driver's original plan was to release this as a solo album, with accompanying art and story by Sueta, but as her health declined, and took a turn for the worst, the whole band took on the project in her memory. The lyrics were adapted from poems that Sueta wrote while she was in the hospital, and the vocal and music style employed reflects the pain and suffering that she was going through. The story behind Coyote is very touching, and makes the album very interesting on a conceptual level.

While the concept is interesting, interesting may not be enough to carry the album for you. The music consists of extremely dissonant and moody jazz, with lots of repeated, brooding brass sections, played over purely evil sounding bass and drums. There is no relief of consonance around the corner, so the tension just builds and builds with no ultimate resolution. There's not a lot that's particularly pleasing to listen to here, but if nothing else, the music is incredibly successful at conveying the melancholy the subject material calls for. It's important to note that while not pleasing, the music is intricate and interesting to listen to, that is, if your ears can take it.

The vocals are as much, if not more effective at making you feel down than the instruments are. Every word is drawn out, with each syllable having lots of space between it. Driver sounds like he's in agony when he sings, adding yet another layer of emotion. The lyrics, as you'd expect, are depressing, but it's interesting to listen to them knowing where they came from.

Even though I don't particularly like Coyote, I can't stop myself from wanting to listen to it. I have a morbid curiosity with it, and I don't think it's ever going to get satisfied. Each listening does get a little bit easier, but this is a very, very slow burn. Also, if you've never heard really dissonant brass music before, this is probably the worst place you could ever pick to start. It wasn't until I exposed myself to music that had it in bits that I could really get into this. If Coyote is your first taste of this kind of music, I suggest you listen in very short bursts. If you force yourself to like it, chances are, you won't.

After listening to this album, I'm not really sure what to think. I'm a little confused, and I don't feel any better than I did before listening. That's the point of Coyote, but it's just a little too good at making you feel bad. I can't imagine anyone not being touched by the story behind it, and if you're willing to take the plunge, the music serves as a great representation of the raw emotion and pain that spawned it.

m2thek | 3/5 |


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