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Kinski - Cosy Moments

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Artist: Kinski

Album: Cosy Moments

Label: Kill Rock Stars

Review date: Mar. 25, 2013

After a six-year hiatus, Seattle’s Kinski picks up more or less where Down Below It’s Chaos left off, building monstrous constructions of riff and feedback, repeating them to a Gnostic blur and layering on top some surprisingly melodic vocal melodies. Cosy Moments moves slightly toward pop-and-hook than the last Kinski album did, but more than maintains its integrity as an outsized purveyor of aggressive guitar rock.

Over the last couple of albums, Kinski has made a transition from a dynamic-switching, mostly instrumental, experimental outfit – a peer of Bardo Pond and Acid Mothers Temple – to a more accessible, though still blistering rock band. The transition took a critical step in Down Below It’s Chaos with the addition of vocals – that’s Chris Martin singing – a step which led the band necessarily away from free-form, amp-torturing frenzies toward more structured songcraft. The model, maybe, is Sonic Youth, one of the few bands to balance experimentation and pop for any extended length of time. On Cosy Moments, Kinski continues to funnel noise and dissonance into surprisingly ear-friendly, easily grasped compositions. Even the instrumentals – and there are four of them – feel fairly tightly planned and structured.

It’s the vocals, though, that invite listeners into these songs, and once there, to poke at meanings. Cosy Moments (which takes its name from a P.G. Wodehouse novel) is not, as its title implies, organized around domestic bliss. In fact, given the lyrics, it’s easy to read the brutal, stop-start riffs as rage, the dissonances and drones as stupefied alienation, the krautish repetition as persistence in the face of disappointment. “Long-Term Exit Strategy,” the opener, bludgeons melody with dogged distortion, its long wah-wah’d crusted guitar solo a shaggy bear of a thing, obliterating everything in its path. “Can I lay my head on your girlfriend,” Martin asks plaintively, early in the song, looking for some sort of connection. “Nothing will happen. / Nothing will come of it.” Later, in the brief, poppish, hand-clapped “Let Me Take You Through My Thoughts,” Martin turns from romantic disengagement to professional struggle, a T. Rex-ish glam abandon framing all the things that critics have been telling him to do next.

The songs that jump first are all crunchy, riff-based rockers, as full of “bams” and “pows” and “oofs” as Batman/Joker fights from the old TV show. Yet, even in these, Kinski has a way of turning jagged, AC/DC style riffs into motorik mysticism, filtering the most basic rock and roll through smoke and fog. “Conflict Free Diamonds” is maybe the best example, a bruising, exhilarating, rock-overload kind of song that builds like a thunderhead and releases – and yet remains a conundrum.

Cosy Moments is a fantastic rock album, and like all Kinski albums, it gets you to wondering whether it’s just a rock album or something transcendent. Last time I asked Martin where he stood on the rock-to-experiment continuum, he said he thought that Kinski was “pretty much a rock band.” I’d say it’s more that that, but exactly what kind of “more” is difficult to pin down, and anyway, what difference does it make? This is one of the best guitar rock albums of the year.

By Jennifer Kelly

Other Reviews of Kinski


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Down Below It's Chaos

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