Review Summary: the best half-an-album you may ever hear
Rhythm, Chord and Melody is one of the most puzzling, most intriguing and ultimately, most entrancing album I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. For most of the album, I wonder if I ever truly do love the album or if it’s just the record’s obvious and incredible stand-out tracks impairing my judgment. Boasting a progressive-pop sound that features absolutely stunning vocals, fully-trained jazz drum-work, and jaw-dropping piano arrangements that remind us piano is a true lead instrument and not just a down-trodden backdrop to a Coldplay power-balled, The Reign of Kindo are a both a musician’s band and a music-lover’s band in the truest sense. It’s when their obvious musical chops marry dynamic and intuitive songwriting that we get the type of songs that would make an instant modern classic. But it doesn’t always work that way. Yes, Rhythm... is a confused collection that forges together some of both the best songs out there with songs that you’d be hard-pressed to remember even with a superhuman memory. Is the inconsistency worth it in the long haul?
Well, yes. When The Reign of Kindo are firing on all cylinders, they must have ten-thousand cylinders on hand and a couple extra hundred in a Kentucky barn for back-up. Their combination of jazzy piano and percussion paired with Joseph Secchiaroli’s absolutely soaring vocals are a match made in heaven and Rhythm... has the goods to prove it. ‘Great Blue Sea’, for example, is a dynamic whirlwind of ambient ups and downs that are broken up by dissonant piano triplets and a set of multiple but equally catchy chorus hooks; each one entrancing the listener into a reverb-soaked, liquid-lucid dream. This entrancing quality too defines the album’s best track ‘The Moments in Between’: starting subtly with a haunting piano progression, the song slowly trickles upwards in a stream of brushes, falsetto vocals, arpeggios and increasing tension before exploding into a huge chorus that has Secchiaroli’s using every which part of his range possible while drummer Steven Padin plays a thunderous polyrhythm over the already huge section. Embracing dynamic perfectly, ‘The Moments in Between’ is an amalgam of everything possibly good about pop and/or progressive music and raises the bar high for The Reign of Kindo straight from the get-go.
Yet while poppier cuts like the John Mayer-esque ‘Let It Go’, ‘Nice to Meet You’ and the strangely bouncy ‘The Mystery of Our Day’ are complimented by the dramatic and emotional instrumental climax of the title track, there comes a point in which the tracks blur together too seamlessly and the magic is lost. ‘Til We Make Our Descent’, ‘Something in the Way You Are’ and ‘Hold Out’ are perfect examples of The Reign of Kindo’s average-band impression. Without sustaining the incredible dynamic that made the band’s best songs so incredible, they roll on aimlessly like locomotives devoid of obvious melodies but chockfull of ideas and good intentions. ‘Hold Out’ itself doesn’t let up for one moment in its five moments but it never once deviates from its fast-paced western motif during its long tenure - it’s repetitiveness in tracks like these and other unmentioned, unremarkable tracks that make Rhythm, Chord and Melody so puzzlingly inconsistent. You’d think the band capable of writing ‘Great Blue Sea’ would be able to write songs of its like for an entire album but sadly The Reign of Kindo have a salary cap on their brilliance. This won’t stop the album’s best tracks but being anything but the best music has to offer though and it certainly won’t stop The Reign of Kindo of being one of the most talented bands around right now - but it does stop Rhythm, Chord and Melody from being the absolute masterpiece it could’ve been.
i'll go ahead and paraphrase a particularly insightful youtube commenter w.r.t. this band--something like, "this band is almost too good. obviously that's naturally paradoxical, but their completely flawless proficiency in singing, songwriting, instrumentation, production etc. sort of makes a passage from enjoyable to, like, somehow uncomfortable. like, i think i would like them better if they were actually a little sloppier or something"
"like a sparkling clean house with beautiful furniture but no evidence humans live in it?"
yeah, bingo! this isn't to disparage them, and this is also an opinion that doesn't have much solid listening to back it up (haven't heard this album, e.g.). and they also have some totally kickass songs for sure
"recommended by reviewer
The Dear Hunter The Color Spectrum
Minus the Bear Planet of Ice"
what the fuck seriously? I listened to one of their albums a little while ago, their newest one I forget the name, and it was pretty good but kind of same-y. I probably won't bother with any of their other material, even though you do make this sound pretty good.
yeah I'm listening to it now, amazing track. fucking Caleb, making me rethink my stance on this band. I don't like the vocals but that's about the only thing I didn't love there. dayum I might have to give this album a shot.