I don’t even know how to write a review for this album. First of all, if you’re looking at this, and you haven’t checked out maudlin of the Well yet, check them out. They were an amazing progressive metal (loosely) band whose compositions continue to amaze me with their creativity and excellence. Also, the members of motW formed the new project, Kayo Dot, and though it has a different sound and some new members, slight similarities can be heard here and there. Like motW, the compositions are incredible, but as other reviewers have said, it’s much more abstract. That’s why I suggest getting some motW first (unfortunately not sold on amazon, and even hard to find otherwise…but try, damn you!).
This album has 5 compositions, all over 10 minutes except for “A Pitcher of Summer”. Each one has to be given repeated listenings, because they’re all pretty complex, and you notice new things about each one each time (especially in headphones). “Marathon” begins with a guitar chord hit repeatedly with a free-ish jazz rhythmic feel, and electronic sample, and implications of atonality. Then it quiets down to a beautifully composed French horn melody. After this it explodes into chaotic, atonal, free metal with screaming and gurgling vocals. It goes into a quick riff based section, and then quiets down for the rest of the song in a keyboards and guitar jazzy outro. The poetry at the end is really nice too.
That’s just one song, and I didn’t describe it that well either. “A Pitcher of Summer” somewhat resembles a normal song, but then again, not really. There’s some really pretty guitar playing in this one, as well as some beautiful, Buckley-esque singing from Toby (until the end where it explodes into a loud part). “The Manifold Curiosity” is possibly my favorite from this album. There are many explosions of melody on several different instruments at once, which can be harsh at first, but now I find it pretty powerful. There’s also pretty slow sections, gorgeous violins, and a chaotic, Converge-esque ending. The end of this song is one of the heaviest, loudest, craziest things I’ve heard in awhile.
Kayo Dot are true musical pioneers. They’re really thinking outside the box with this album. If you want a band that has a really unique approach to music, I think you’ve found it. I don’t listen to much classical, but the description of the album said that they’ve taken a classical compositional approach, but used elements more common to rock and metal. That sounds about right too me, but I hear elements of folk, jazz, and indie rock as well.
It blows me away every time I hear it.