Album Reviews

Kyte – Kyte

(Kids) UK release date: 18 February 2008

Kyte - Kyte Climb a mountain. Reach the summit. Gaze in awe at the stunning, dramatic vistas. The soundtrack to such an event would be provided by Kyte. Their luscious melodies take the listener on a journey that, at its best, soars, with breathless aural backdrops and delicate drops of magic.

The self-titled debut begins in no uncertain fashion with the epic Planet. It’s at once beautifully grandiose, and wholly understated, an enchanting opener. Over layer upon layer of delicate, delay soaked guitar melodies, the breathy vocals drift, and the bass pounds along to a strong rhythm that builds as the song progresses.

It is, however, the second track, Boundaries that is the first standout point of the album. The song is built around a fragile, beautiful guitar melody, that ripens, swells, and bursts into a throbbing, unashamedly stunning piece of music. With guitar and piano melodies so entwined as to be inseparable.

It’s clear from the off that this Leicester five-piece have a lot of balls. All too often debut albums are tentative forays into bandwagon-joining, substanceless, scene-fucking blandness. But with more than half the songs clocking in at well over the six minute mark, and with a sound shamelessly epic, Kyte are not about to be rushed, and none of the above adjectives could conceivably be attributed to them.

That they are ploughing their own furrow is commendable in itself, but when songs such as Boundaries result from such labours then it becomes clear that Kyte are at the precipice of something great. But their debut is not without considerable flaws.

The drum sound is a vital, crucial part of any album (that has drums). This point is rarely in contention, as with professionally released work the sound is almost always good. Not in the case of Kyte. In fact the drums are infuriatingly bad sounding. If anyone reading this has ever played a bad MIDI drumkit or heard a bad MIDI drum sound – then that’s what this is. It sounds a bit like the drums sounds you get on toy keyboards, albeit with a little bit more production. At times, the problem is so bad it literally ruins songs, see Secular Ventures.

Maybe I’m knit picking, but the problem is compounded with some of the synthesized sounds Kyte have chosen to use. Again, Secular Ventures has awful string sounds. Home, and They Won’t Sleep are further examples. Kyte’s debut is solid. But it’s this lack of attention to detail that is infuriating as it is the little things such as these that patrol the border between good and great.

Other highlights beside Boundaries include Home’s delicious juxtaposition of bright acoustic guitar with smatterings of electronica, the sublime, dream-inducing album closer, These Tales Of Our Stay, and They Won’t Sleep which is the most demonstrable example of Kyte’s Sigur Rós infuence. In fact, the more suspicious among you will join me in citing a bit of a rip-off of Hoppípolla, but I’m saying nothing. Apart from that.

Kyte’s debut is good, and very brave, and ultimately a refreshing, and wholly palatable listening experience. What they need to do is build on this debut, and further develop their sound. For a band with an average age of 20 that shouldn’t be hard.

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Kyte – Kyte