Kites

Kites

Kites

You and I in the Kaleidoscope

Unsigned

An EP of four songs shouldn’t take three years to make. Then again, it took Brian Wilson 38 years to finally Smile and My Bloody Valentine took two years to reveal how Loveless they really were. Phil Spector spent considerable time and dough — $22,000 — to produce the song “River Deep-Mountain High.”

Each of these struggles at least lightly bruises Kites’ You and I in the Kaleidoscope. Dude is in the tradition of fussy studio rats who grow ulcers searching for the perfect hi-hat sound. But where audio masochism had Kites mastermind Jean-Philip Grobler stressed over 80 layers of guitar, the resulting EP is surprisingly immediate. You and I in the Kaleidoscope is an avalanche of swirling guitars, synth, and sonic nibbles compressed into a pop nugget, then steamrolled over four tracks. Its overstuffed sound peels back layers of ’90s alternative so Grobler’s voice can slink through — a crystalline shot of adrenaline that soothes the raging drums and distorted six-stringed beasts.

Kaleidoscope‘s precise production is a far cry from current trends toward primitivism, and its big, shiny edges share DNA with the chameleon-like Grand National and the dramatic Muse. “Daylight” starts things off with what could be an alternate universe version of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” but Grobler’s vocals are less affected and more pop than Corgan’s shrill whine. By the time we swell into the chorus, the guitars are lathered up, underscoring a slinky bouzouki and rubbing against Grobler’s Middle Eastern vocal melody.

Kites is a band out of time that rips through anthemic arena rock with more backbone than Coldplay and less tchotchkes than Radiohead. It’s just heart-felt alternative rock. Where contemporaries clamor to be cryptic, Kites’ songs are clearly telegraphed, even when they are wrapped in dichotomies — the titles alone give you a sense of the contradictions: “Game of Love and War” and “Heroes and Villains.” The chorus to “Daylight” begins, “And in the darkest of nights, we will see the daylight.” Confidently contradictory.

Nothing else really matches the hooks on “Daylight,” though “Easy Now” comes close with surging guitars and a symphonic feel. “Game of Love and War” brings a lattice work of piano, guitars, glockenspiel, and vocal harmonies — perhaps a nod to that Beach Boy we talked about earlier. As a matter of fact, Grobler studied under Brian Wison’s nemesis, Sir Paul McCartney, at his Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Let’s hope Grobler sticks closer to Paul McCartney’s recording pace than Brian Wilson’s. You and I in the Kaleidoscope is intriguing, but what is to follow is the real mystery.

Kites: www.kitesmusic.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

From the Archives