Kilowatthours & The Rum Diary

Kilowatthours / The Rum Diary

Split

Springman/Substandard

As with the only other split CD I’ve reviewed for Ink 19, the listening interest springs from pop culture name recognition. Last time, it was the great-film-turned-abysmal-band, The Monster Squad. This time, it’s Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary. It was only after the fact that I learned this was a sort of east-meets-west of bass-heavy indie rock, and definitely my cup of tea.

Of the two bands, The Rum Diary favors a more minimal, ringing delivery in their guitar tones, attaching them lamprety-style to ride the thunderous bass slipstream. Singer Daniel Mckenzie’s androgynous voice is kept at such a distant, subdued whisper that it evokes the same somnambulant effects many early ’90’s shoegaze bands hid behind layers of guitars.

Kilowatthours, on the other hand, is more effects-heavy. “Halos” is slow and celestial, gaining stratospheric power through its overdriven guitar at the song’s close. The band keeps a suspended “space walk” feel during most of their songs through confined, canned vocals and cold, constant guitar emissions.

Neither band keeps a steady dynamic throughout their allotted four tracks. Often they play hopscotch in sounds, predicting and emulating each other’s sonic shifts, hoping for a moment of superiority. The most noteworthy track on this split is “[Ex]Change,” the only direct collaboration between the bands. Not only is this song predominantly a piano-based ballad, but there’s not much of the trademark bass discernable at all.

As with any effective teaser, my ears are now primed for more material from both of these bands. Most likely, I’ll have to search for these band’s albums separately, but, fate permitting, I wouldn’t mind another team effort from these folks.

Springman: www.springmanrecords.com/ • Substandard www.substandard.com/

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