Review Summary: One of the best underlooked rock releases of 2010, Kashmir have found the exact intersection for their long lost groove and pop hooks and sentimentality everyone loves.
For those who have never heard about Kashmir, (which is likely unless you are danish or latin american), they came to the spotlight in 2003 due to heavy exposure from MTV of their hit single Rocket Brothers
and its grimly-themed animation video. After that, they had moderate success worldwide (and by moderate, I mean being are HUGE in latin america and Denmark) with their album No Balance Palace, with heavyweight collaborations of the likes of David Bowie and Lou Reed.
In 2010, they started a large tour through Latin America and now they really became massive (again, Latin America-Massive, mind you), to the point of actually appearing in the best selling charts in Mexico with their release Trespassers
(Considering the economic environment in Latin America in general), which may lead to many to ask themselves: Who the *** are these guys and why are they such a phenomenon?
Kashmir, at least in their better known facet of musicianship (They have been active since 1994 in Denmark), which is their Zitilites era and beyond, have released albums with rather inconsistent tracklists: You have, for instance, Zitilites with the heart-breaking Melpomene
, the easyness-to-dance-to of Surfing the Warm Industry
, the grandeur of Rocket Brothers
, and a bunch of songs that are good, but forgettable in the overall context of the album. Pretty songs, mind you, but never truly cohesive in the grand scheme of the album; Same thing happened with No Balance Palace: Begins strong with Kalifornia
, Jewel Drop
and The Cynic
, and in a sense it is more cohesive overall than Zitilites, but just sinks to plain indifference towards the end.
, they have come to a realization of how the pop world really works: Even though songs are relatively longer than most of its predecessor's track lengths. A lot more ambient sounds have been incorporated to the overall sound of the band, especially in the song openings. Bass is heavily more prominent all over the album, same with drum grooves, returning to sounds more commonly found in Travelogue. Guitar sounds have gotten softer and relying less on barre chords and more on arpeggiated with a plethora of effects, and in most tracks accompanied not too far behind by ambient sounds of synthesizers. The last few tracks of this album differ from last efforts, by having one of the best songs in the album (The Indian (That Dwells Inside this Chest)) right at the end, making it a worthy listen until the CD stops.
Kasper Eistrup's vocals, at least back in the Zitilites days, used to sound a lot like Thom Yorke's, particularly in Rocket Brothers. Creepingly similar, to the point of giving the idea of "Radiohead ripoffs" (myself included). Compared to the vocal efforts from back in 2003, Trespassers' vocal work is much deeper and less forced (you can tell Kasper's voice sounds deeper everywhere except for Rocket Brothers). Lyrically, everything about the album is a lot less trite than older efforts from Kasper, ranging from interesting ocean-themed (Mantaray
) to indian-inspired (obviously The Indian
) love songs. Everything about this album is all about the ladies, and even though it is not too thematically vast (probably Still Boy is about... I don't know. Inner confusion, go figure.), the use of nice similes and metaphors make it feel richer altogether.
As an overall package, Trespassers is the most cohesive Kashmir release to date, featuring many more elements they had probably sacrificed for commercial success sakes: Prevalescent groove in their sound, but keeping the pop sensibility they have been blooming for a couple of years now. One of the best (underseen) releases from 2010 (AGAIN, outside of Denmark and Latin America; seriously, it is almost illogical).