Heady goes herey
“Ultraviolet” is the darkest, most sombre and pensive record of Kylesa’s career. But, we should not be surprised by this turn from the Savannah, Ga. band, as we were given an indication of its current mind-frame on last year’s compilation of re-recorded and unreleased material, “From the Vaults, Vol. 1.”
“End Truth” was the only new song included on “From the Vaults, Vol. 1,” and its cold post-punk was reminiscent of Joy Division, especially vocally. It also treaded the line of being slightly experimental while remaining accessible by emphasizing melodies, and the songs that stand out on “Ultraviolet” are those that keep to this song-writing formula. These songs are far and few between, however, with “Unspoken,” “Long Gone” and “Steady Breakdown” being the clear highlights. Laura Pleasants’ catchy vocal melodies lead these three songs and the prominent bass-lines, hazy swirls of guitars, and duel drums heavy on accent set a richly textured, intoxicating atmosphere. It is on these examples that Pleasants really shows how she has come into her own as a vocalist. Her soothing, sultry tones make “Unspoken” breathe as the riffs enclose, and there is a dose of ’90s Riot Grrrl angst in her delivery on the psychedelic alt-rock of “Steady Breakdown,” both of which work brilliantly and display real character.
Besides these tracks and the laid back indie rock of “Low Tide,” the rest of the songs that attempt this mood are passive at best. “Grounded” and “Vulture’s Landing” have some interesting blues riffs but the melodies are weak and drift away without a memory. And the final two tracks “Quicksand” and “Drifting” are both vocally and musically devoid of any real substance, just fading out without any fanfare.