Sunday 20 April 2014

Choice Cuts : Kylesa – Static Tensions (Prosthetic Records (CD)/20 Buck Spin/ La Familia (Vinyl)

Album Line-up :

Laura Pleasants | Vocal, Guitars
Philip Cope | Voccals, Guitars, Sampler
Carl McGinley | Drums
Eric Hernandez | Drums
Javier Villegas | Bass

"But it's not old enough yet!" I hear you collectively exclaim.

A classic cut should not be defined by age. It should be defined by impact. And Kylesa's fourth studio album made an impact, both for the band and one could argue the sound too.

Released in 2009, 'Static Tensions' would be the group's last album for Prosthetic before jumping ship to the diverse and expanding roster of Season Of Mist. I actually own both the CD and wax versions of this (lush green vinyl from 20 Buck Spin) because I enjoy it so much. For me it is one of their finest hours collectively, as much as I do adore 'Ultraviolet' (and I stand by the fact that it is their best, most mature album). 'Static...' features a consistent level of excellence throughout too, with variations both psychedelic and even blackened. Don't believe me? Listen to the start of 'Said and Done', come find me and argue the toss. We'll leave brothers (or sisters?) and more than likely half cut.

In terms of where the band / album could be filed I would always go with good old fashioned sludge. But that's quite a narrow description, especially for 'Static Tensions' as I touched on only moments ago. That diversity while maintaining EPIC levels of heaviness has kept it fresh over the years. I know it's why rarely a week goes by that it isn't spun here at Fitton HQ.

Another thing that makes this a classic cut is that this is probably the best example of the two drummer situation within the Kylesa discography that the setup applies to. I don't think they have managed to top the use of it yet, and here it defies the 'gimmick' label by lacing perfect tribal, primal percussive blasts with soul searching guitar. This is an album of anthemic moments that are still live staples for the band. That kind of staying power speaks volumes.

On a final note, the artwork is one of my all time favourites. I could stare at many different pieces of John Dyer Baizley artwork for hours, but his cover for 'Static Tensions' is pure, highly detailed class. The greens, the purples, the birds, the falling teeth. I still find something new to obsess over sometimes, even after all these years. Genius within, genius on the outside.

So that's why I love this album, even without going into song-by-song analysis. A pure joy from start to finish for now, for tomorrow and always. If you don't already own it I suggest you rectify that injustice with haste. Why would you do that to yourself?

Love one another. Love the classics.

Words and Recommendation by : Matt Fitton

Album Details :

Static Tensions, Kylesa’s fourth full-length album, was released March 17, 2009 by Prosthetic Records. The artwork and layout was created by John Dyer Baizley of the band Baroness.

All songs by Phillip Cope, Carl McGinley & Laura Pleasants, except where noted.

1). "Scapegoat" 3:25
2). "Insomnia for Months" 2:04 (Cope, Pleasants, Eric Hernandez)
3). "Said and Done" 4:09
4). "Unknown Awareness" 4:22
5). "Running Red" 5:46
6). "Nature's Predators" 4:10
7). "Almost Lost" 3:03
8). "Only One" 5:20
9). "Perception" 3:43
10). "To Walk Alone" 4:22

Vinyl editions:

- Regular edition on black vinyl with an LP sized 8 page booklet. In US, released by 20 Buck Spin and in Europe by La Familia.

- Limited edition of 500 from 20 Buck Spin in deluxe package with a patch, a sticker, an album poster; all encased in a box set of two 180gram 45rpm 12"s for maximum quality (gatefold inside includes yellow/black and purple/black marble vinyl w/ poster).

- 2nd US pressing from 20 Buck Spin on Sea Foam Green vinyl (March 2011).