Kylesa - Static Tensions

Ever since their inception in 2001, Georgia’s Kylesa have been consistently and audaciously perfecting their sludge-rock art, gradually carving a niche that have became so resolutely of their own and establishing themselves as one of the genre’s most well-known and interesting names. I think it’s incontestable to say that their fourth full-length release “Static Tensions” is no exception to the rule. In fact, it’s their absolutely best and most immediate record to date, where Kylesa have finally grown into a colossal sludge-rock beast just about to blow the confines of the underground.
“Static Tensions” sees Kylesa deeply trimming down the jam-like ramblings of their previous record “Time Will Fuse Its Worth”, crafting shorter and more concise songs replete with memorable and compelling moments. Just don’t make the mistake of expecting any radio-friendly tunes here as Kylesa’s music continues to remain experimental and daring as ever, spiced up with layers of psychedelic rock and progressive and tribal percussion. It’s just that, whereas in past releases the band had an itch to meander into overlong and fuzzy sections, nowadays they opt to positively boost the songs with a more typical rock structure with greater emphasis on mesmerizing choruses and hummable melodies. It’s near impossible not to enjoy “Static Tensions” from front to back, there’s no impulse to skip forward to the next theme as all of them have their own distinct appeal and texture. Anyway, there are a handful of songs that I’d like to stand out like for example the opener “Scapegoat”, which kicks in with the pounding and dual drum charge of skin-bashers Carl McGinely and Eric Hernandez. It’s short and to the point, exuding an almost Hardcore-Punk feel with sludgy and gargantuan riffs provided by guitarists Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants. Kylesa continue to weave a similar and punchy groove of distorted guitars and pounding percussion on the following two numbers “Insomnia for Months” and “Said and Done”, but then there’s an unexpected and tasteful transition into a more trippy and smoother pace in “Unknown Awareness” with the guitars echoing in a eerie and psychedelic, yet so wonderfully infectious tone. It’s definitely one of the albums highlights, just like the following theme “Running Red”, which starts with a haunting piano melody and the gentle crooning of Laura, sounding almost like a psychedelic lullaby until the punchy guitars and her enraged vocals burst in abruptly. The vocal interplay of guitarists Pleasants and Cope was always one of the most recognizable and appreciated traits of Kylesa, and the new record sees Laura putting a lot more emphasis on her melodic range, which turned out undeniably great and contrasts nicely with Cope’s more cavernous roars.
I could go on waxing lyrical about Kylesa’s “Static Tensions”, but I guess it suffices to add that it will be one best albums you’ll hear in 2009.

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