Review Summary: So what if the cover is a crayon drawing complete with rainbows, lions, and waterfalls?“...a nearly full spectrum of frequencies audible to the human ear, a reflection of a variety of emotions and situations real and imagined - some rhythm some rhyme.”
These words are neither mine nor the overly pretentious garble of a Pitchfork review. This is how Kyp Malone describes first solo release, Rain Machine
. Now, this probably sounds just as ambitious and extravagant to you as it did to me; but interesting, nonetheless. Kyp is better known as a vocalist and guitarist in New York’s TV On the Radio. Personally, I didn’t look nearly as favorably on Kyp’s latest release with TV On the Radio, Dear Science,
, as their previous Return To Cookie Mountain
. However, Dear Science,
was backed my a wave of critical acclaim and it was hard not to see the skill and power behind the album. Kyp Malone is using Rain Machine as a creative outlet to experiment a little further than before, and it shows, all the way through to the album cover. Garnered with a drawing that looks like an fanciful fourth-grader was assigned an art project on Africa and got his hands on some crayons, Rain Machine
looks like it sounds, complete with rainbows and waterfalls.
To be blunt, Rain Machine
is not a disappointment. Kyp, if nothing else, has proven himself to be unpredictable and a bit spontaneous, but Rain Machine
feels like a good fit. Complete with elements of bluegrass and jazz, Kyp keeps it interesting. That being said, Kyp knows what he does best and never strays too far from the guitar-driven rock based around his unique vocals and provocative lyrics. Rain Machine
is a truly lush record that shows just how versatile Kyp’s solo project can stretch.
Perhaps Rain Machine’s greatest strength is the sheer range throughout the 10-song record that manages to be interesting and compelling for the entire duration. “Desperate Bitch” creeps along slowly and carefully following Malone’s poignant whine. “New Last Name” turns up the funk a notch as Kyp decries the redistribution of names, in reference to slavery to be exact. “Love Won’t Save You,” the sparse and steadily escalating album highlight is the most passionate of the record as it climaxes with Kyp’s moving cry. Four songs clock in past the 6-minute mark, the longest being the closer, “Winter Songs.” Some artists would find it tough to overcome this hurdle, but Malone hurdles it in stride, as each song remains interesting, emotional, and original in its own right.
is a fantastic record with enough elements to please everyone. Kyp Malone hit just the right note with his solo project, and it culminates in one of the better releases of 2009. It may seem a little too eclectic and unfocused for some, but I found the constant shifting and movement likable. As soon as you think Malone finds his niche with a slow-burning electric beat with hand claps, he changes it around on you and heads back in the jazz direction. In the end, I can’t quite capture Rain Machine’s
unique essence the same way Malone has, when he describes it as “...a nearly full spectrum of frequencies audible to the human ear, a reflection of a variety of emotions and situations real and imagined - some rhythm some rhyme.”
New Last Names
Love Won’t Save You