Let us not beat around the bush about it, the new album from South Wales band Kyshera is simply exceptional, a kaleidoscope and maelstrom of ideas, invention and intrusive imagination that provokes as strongly as it thrills. Made in China leaves one on a lofty high whilst deep in thought with its startling and captivating sounds, challenging intent, and unique ingenuity.
Kyshera (pronounced K-eye-she-ra) are a trio who refuse to conform in life and musically without that becoming a uniform in itself, they are in their words “anything that is otherwise indefinable”. This makes for a release that is completely unpredictable and deeply diverse but without falling into indulgences or a disconnected mass of invention. The album and songs have a seamless flow which at times wrong foots and leaves one open mouthed but still fully engages and makes one part of the schizophrenic soundscape. Following up their debut album Paradigm, vocalist/guitarist James Kennedy, bassist Matt Warr, and drummer Phil Smith, have created a masterpiece of ingenuity that takes one through a multiverse of thought, complex and simple ideas, and music that stirs up and inspires fully. They and their lyrics are deeply political which challenge personally, socially, and confront, all brought with accessible yet equally provocative sounds.
Released via Rising Records, Made In China is an album that connects instantly but holds a depth and thick wealth within that makes each visit a new and rewarding experience. From the opening Terrorists the band hit hard but with definition and glorious senses shuffling invention. Beefy riffs and sturdy rhythms pounce immediately to give the perfect wake up call to the immersive melodic jazz lined manipulations that follow. A continual side stepping into distinct and unique areas keeps the song a brewing challenging mesh of feisty intensity and melodic enterprises that scorch and caress equally. The result is a track that takes the essences of the likes of early Incubus, Faith No More, An Entire Legion, and Dog Fashion Disco into the politic and aggressive steel of Circus Of Dead Squirrels. The song is magnificent and one of the best so far this year, something the remainder of the album eagerly and mightily challenges persistently.
The following steely and caustic instrumental The Game destructively twists the senses inside out leaving them open for the rollercoaster of enterprise that is Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll. As if you were searching through the wavelengths on a radio of ideas the song flickers with seemingly disentangled sounds and diversions which all flow perfectly within an overall warm mellowness that still stirs up emotions continually.
Each song is thoroughly compulsive and blindsiding, the examples of the majestic and threatening Sugar, the distressed surface and effect lined Germ, to the irresistible groove metal spiced Mannequins and the wondrous rock Superstar, leaving one wondering and thrilled. The second of these songs is mighty, a stunning track that brings its ominous atmosphere through beautifully crafted melodic beckoning and emotion poking sensibility, it is brilliant a seeming fly in the ointment but giving the opposite reward.
Every song is a conjuration of well thought out and realised imagination but also evidence of the skill and ability of the band in songwriting and its realisation. From the infectious and immense voice of Kennedy and his striking and emotive guitars, the magnetic basslines of Warr which can maraud, plunder or mesmerise with equal control and unfettered eagerness, to the beats and rhythms of Smith which takes one on intense intrusive journeys or tender beckoning strolls with pure accomplishment, the trio own the heart and soul with sure quality and innovation.
The latter part of the album is just as fulfilling and emotion teasing as the first with songs like the at times surreal and magnetic Messiah Mask, the 70’s rock spiced title track, and the imposing homeric closer Ants leaving one breathless, bedazzled, and urgently eager for more.
Made in China is staggering, an album that deserves all the acclaim it gets and more. Kyshera may not want to or do conform but there is no escaping the mass uniform of adulation that will surely come their way with the album.