Review Summary: A Dell and a computer mic can only take you so far.
There I stood, by my lonesome, pensive and silent. Nothing stirred in the empty bathroom aside from an occasional shift I made on the countertop. I peered endlessly into the mirror at my doppelganger, trying to decide what I should do; just outside the door, a tiny black line blipped onscreen, over a pane swathed in white. It begged for shelter under pixilated word, but there would be none of that for now. Despite my best efforts, my mind searched aimlessly for another idea, another thing to bring up, anything else there was that I had overlooked. No such luck. “Well,” I finally said, “there isn’t much I can say.” My words bounced around the walls, as I began pacing to and fro. “I mean, to me, this is a typical emo album. The music follows all the conventions I’ve seen before: clean guitar line, blast of sound, drumming that’s all over the place, and a guy just wishing to know ‘what’s going on in this crazy mixed-up world of mine!’ It’s aural catharsis, pure and simple. Touching on all of this is great and all, but nothing comes up to make it legitimately noticeable. It’s not that it’s not enjoyable music, sure, yet it does nothing beyond exist as another piece in the mix.” I lay my chin on the edge of the sink and shook my head, continuing, “What makes it different from everything else I’ve heard? Moreso, what makes it better? Ugh, I really hate discussing that, though, since the entire style has pretty much been spoiled for me thanks to stuff like Hot Cross and Kidcrash. It makes writing the damn review fairly that much harder, since in my head, Khayembii has to live up to all that.” Frustrated, I tried to clear my head, pushing those bands that had so maimed my musical cherry.
Still gazing into the mirror, a sigh escaped my lips. “Okay, here, let’s forget all of that and just try to look at this on its own, which makes it seem...alright. Like, the instruments sound pretty good, for the most part; nothing ever turns out boring, for one thing, despite some repetitive riffs. A Year and an Ocean
definitely proves the writers knew what they were doing, since everything melds so well there compared to the rest of the EP.” Lifting my head a bit, I clasped my hands together, intertwining my fingers like the teeth on a cog. “It just flows so well, between the general interlay of the sound, the time changes, and the great pacing of the vocals. That’s a big plus for most of the album, actually; if I could only find the singer’s name. Of course modern technology is no help,” I shrugged, “but whatever, as long as he keeps screaming the way he does, I’m content. Nothing else touches that song, especially not that offbeat closer, um,” I paused for a moment to recall the name,” How to Change Addiction,
yeah. Contrary to the rest of the album, it has this really out-of-place acoustic riff that’s just repeated constantly whenever the song is in that whole ‘calmed’ stage, which together really suck the life out of it. Too bad, since lyrically it’s a gem. A song about Alcoholic’s Anonymous alone is something I’ve never heard, and comparing it to a substitute cult for the juice kinda impressed me and redeems its flaws to some extent. Plus, the idea proves a nice change from the other three’s typical subjects.” Eyes rolled towards the ceiling exasperatedly. “There are only so many ways a song can be made to condemn lost love, after all.”
“If only the sound quality wasn’t firmly in the toilet, this would probably see a regular rotation. Sadly, that’s not the case at all. All the sounds hit spots where they just bleed together beyond a real melody, which in hindsight probably helps along the ‘catharsis’ idea, but pushes the songs to not be worth the listen at points. Not to mention, the lyrics are purely incoherent sometimes, rendering them pretty moot.” Another sigh…I had since resumed pacing. The reflection occasionally glanced back at me as I passed, wearing a mask of uncertainty. “Honestly, this sounds like I could’ve recorded it just as well, or maybe even better, on the mic I’ve got hooked up now, and just strung it through Audacity. That disappoints me to no end, knowing this really loses so much to a tin-can ***hole recording job. There’s no ignoring it, either. In their defense, I think this was recorded in like 1998, so maybe Khayembii was just getting into the niche then. Plus I would be one of the last people to complain about something like production, too -- I mean, come on, I value stuff like Keasbey Nights and Kerplunk partly because of their low-end quality. I guess the EP shouldn’t take much heat for it, but it’s easily the biggest problem that faces an otherwise enjoyable piece.” At some point during this rant, I had opened the door and sat down in front of my keyboard. At this point, I figured I had everything I’d need to get started. Clicking the tiny number three in the drop-down, I thought, “I wish this could get more, but there isn’t any chance of that. The music is wild and frenetic underneath all that fuzz and clacking, and despite not being the next big thing, it’s a decent listen.” My thoughts transferred to the screen in pixilated speech, as I turned on The Khayembii Communique’s self-titled EP and typed away.