Kayo Dot
Coyote


2.5
average

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
April 20th, 2010 | 240 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With "Coyote", we find kayo Dot struggling to remain musically relevant....

I make it a habit to walk/run everyday in the little town I live in. More for exercise than enjoyment however, it has become something I just simply do. Now, my hometown with a population of 2,000 is nice, but lacking in interest as far as a runner would be concerned. Literally, the town consists of a stoplight and two intersecting streets. Some trees, a store, and some houses. So to say there isn’t much to see or do on these runs would be an understatement. Whilst walking through my town and listening to Kayo Dot’s "Coyote" I realized something: I couldn’t have been listening to a more fitting album.

What is meant by that statement is that "Coyote" is bombastically, epically, and unabashedly boring. At nearly 40 minutes, "Coyote" manages to be both inoffensive and completely harmless. While it is overall very dense, moody, and completely weird, per the usual, Kayo Dot have managed to create an album lacking any real intrigue. Which is a real shame considering the concept behind the album. Conceptually, "Coyote" is a long-form composition detailing the final days of the band’s close friend Yuko Sueta. "Coyote" was originally intended to be played to a film created by Sueta, but she tragically fell ill to breast cancer and passed. Thus, the band dedicated the album to her. To assist in the narrative, the band created a new genre called “gothic-fusion.” Drawing inspirations from The Cure, as well as other bands, the “gothic fusion” sound certainly helps the moodiness of the narrative, but does little for the overall sound. This “goth-fusion” sound just is not a good fit for the band, and really detracts from the long-form composition as a whole.

While on paper, "Coyote"’s concept is both incredibly riveting and emotionally moving. Were it handled better, it could have brought a grown man to tears. However, that powerful concept is translated very poorly into the actual music. The lyrics lack poetic flow and beauty, and have almost no eloquence to them at all. Luckily, "Coyote" is largely an instrumental affair, consisting of large interludes and small vocal portions. What could have been a dark and somber atmosphere, has become something more along the lines of weird and creepy. It really doesn’t translate a someone’s final days, but rather a wild fever dream, or a decent into madness. And that is a fairly large failing with "Coyote". The music nor the lyrics translate the solid narrative at hand.

Ignoring the narrative, Kayo Dot have a few new tricks up there sleeve. Whilst not as interesting or groundbreaking as anything from "Choirs of the Eye", or "Dowsing", some portions of "Coyote" are shockingly unique. As stated previously, this album is moody, dark, and very dense. While not as heavy as previous releases, there is still a lot of atmosphere to be had. Woodwinds play a big part, while the strings and piano have really been toned down. The vocals include less falsetto, which is disappointing as the high pitched vocals have always been part of the classic Kayo Dot sound. Vocalist Toby Driver, the mastermind behind Kayo Dot and now defunct maudlin of the Well, stated that "Coyote" would be more rhythmic than any other release. And he is correct in that statement. The drums in "Coyote" are more prominent than ever, and are utilized incredibly well. There is a stronger emphasis on beats, tempo, and rhythm than ever before, and it really helps push the album along, especially during the longer stretches and interludes.

"Coyote" is comprised of five songs, songs which act more as movements than separate compositions. The opener, “Calonyction Girl” being the album’s standout. Lyrically, musically, and conceptually it’s a true knockout. It opens with a powerful violin, courtesy of Mia Matsumiya, the band’s violinist and guitarist. An unsettling duo of plucked strings and trumpet complement Driver’s tormented vocal performance. Melody is more pervasive here, and the moodier feel fits better here than anywhere else on the album. “Whisper Ineffable” and “Abyss Hinge 2” are thankfully separated by a strange guitar interlude. Were it not there, the two compositions, both very lengthy, would seemingly indiscriminately blend into each other. Both lay on the woodwinds and trumpets thickly, and both have a pulsating beat that helps keep things moving a little better.

"Coyote" is not a complete failure. While much of it may be rather tepid, the drastic change in sound is commendable. The new sound doesn’t really fit the band, but Kayo Dot have never stuck to one sound for too long, and "Coyote" is no exception. The heavier emphasis on woodwinds and brass are an nice touch, and the more rhythmic aspects are very welcome. The concept however, is sadly a complete miss. While it doesn’t do too much to actually detract from the music itself, it certainly is a disappointment. "Coyote" is a decent addition to the Kayo Dot discography despite it’s faults. It is, however, a step up from the band’s last outing. "Coyote" has definite potential to appease long time fans and newcomers alike, but it’s impossible to deny it’s glaring weaknesses.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 20th 2010


10663 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

More like a 2.749999999. But honestly, this will go down as one of 2010's biggest disappointments. This is my 25th review, and feedback would be very appreciated!

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

succuibus
April 20th 2010


54 Comments


not enough trumpet

SeaAnemone
April 20th 2010


20946 Comments


this review is superb.

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 20th 2010


10663 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you SeaAnemone, I really appreciate it!

SeaAnemone
April 20th 2010


20946 Comments


yeah, I would give you feedback but you really don't need any from me haha, keep up the good work... I need to read your reviews more

BigTuna
April 20th 2010


5161 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this. But awesome review, and I agree, it could have been an amazing album.

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar

ziroth
April 20th 2010


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

they really make awful use of the horns on this album

natey
April 20th 2010


4170 Comments


wow they invented a genre !

Ghostechoes
April 20th 2010


1353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

despite it’s faults


Good review. Disappointed by this album. : (

tombits
April 20th 2010


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, I sadly agree with you on this one. I don't understand how Driver has become progressively worse at singing with each album.

rasputin
April 20th 2010


14555 Comments


revuw is rong

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 20th 2010


10663 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Yes they invented a genre, and it would be better applicable anywhere else

It not only seems like he's getting worse vocally, but worse as a songwriter.

Lions
April 20th 2010


1015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

great review. though i believe the album is probably what dying sounds like. i got less darkness and
more of the mystical feel they had on bath. just like the aforementioned album, this makes me feel
like i'm leaving my body. that, along with the music, is what makes this great. also, yuko suerta
(the woman this record is about), wrote the lyrics on her death bed.

Skyler
April 20th 2010


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, Toby's singing is probably the worst it has ever been on this album. Not that he was ever that good of a vocalist in the first place, but here, it really stands out as being quite poor.

Kubrick
April 20th 2010


749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow, this is a really great review congrats. I totally agree about the concept being a miss. The music definitely doesn't seem to translate the intended emotions. It could've held sooo much more emotional weight had it been more sombre and reflective rather than weird and creepy.

I still thinks this warrants a bit higher than average personally because there are some really good moments. Probably a 3 in the long run... maybe 3.5 if I'm really in the mood for it. I hope Toby takes the band in a new direction after this one... I like their layered, dynamic sound over their minimalistic one.

tombits
April 20th 2010


3471 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I thought he was at the least decent on Choirs, but his vocals on Blue Lambency and this are atrocious.

Lions
April 20th 2010


1015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Toby will forever keep the band's sound moving; can't wait for the new ep. I personally think he handles atonal and minimalistic work better than most, but I also love his more consonant work. Maybe the next record will be more consonant, probably won't be metal though, and that's ok with me. Kind of bummed everyone seems to hate this record though, but it's what I expected.

Kubrick
April 20th 2010


749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really liked his vocal style on Choirs. His voice was strong without sounding manufactured or manipulated in the studio... it really gave off like a honest, emotional vibe that went perfectly with the music. I have to agree that the vocals on this are much worse. I don't outright hate them, but I definitely would prefer he went back to his other style.

qwe3
April 20th 2010


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, I sadly agree with you on this one. I don't understand how Driver has become progressively worse at singing with each album.


same, and he wasn't very good to begin with

Klekticist
April 20th 2010


1259 Comments


damn, sucks that this sucks.

funny though, my 5k today - Choirs was playing. irony!



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