When "Leathers" was released, it awoke a suspense and anticipation within many for Deftones they'd perhaps assumed was gone. One couldn't help but be carried with the passion of the performance, Chino's outcry of “Shedding your skins” soaring over the enormously weighty, bigger than itself instrumentation. So engaging by virtue of it simply being different. The band's long and illustrious career could and has been waxed lyrical to the nth degree, so for them to still be capable of bringing out something novel, something which couldn't be traced to their past, but still retained their unmistakable identity...it boded well, and I was unwittingly, like many others, swept up in the media furore.
Unfortunately, a single song is not the portent of the full release we sometimes expect it to be. The issue with popularity is its pervasiveness, it will taint and affect everything it touches. Music can't be the “pure”, isolated endeavor it once was when you're aware millions await it with bated breath. Some have the rare apathy to continue as they once did, but more often the pressure is all too evident in the record. Some benefit from the renewed meticulousness, excessive care and devotion placed into a record the musicians now recognize as bigger than themselves, or it can suffer and collapse under the weight of its own expectation, and that's precisely the source of Koi No Yokan's stagnation. Taking risk invites the possibility of error, of disappointment, so it's avoided, and this is what we're left with.
Tracks upon tracks of dreary homogeneity, tracks which leave no impression, with no identifiable moments to bring you back, the band playing to their well established strengths in a way that would be innocuous were it not so disingenuous. Atmospheres are created only to peter out, vacuous experiences which leave the listener hollow and wanting. Chino was never the most flexible vocalist, but he's capable of more than the droning croon which stretches the entire record. We've heard the vicious, spitting bite of "Headup", the crushing ferocity that is the close of "Royal", so to hear five minutes of "Romantic Dreams" meandering without the climax it deserves verges on hurtful. The riffs in "Gauze" sound all too familiar to the ones you've just heard in "Poltergeist", the rhythm section might as well be absent in its relegated support role. The band play the song that they know works, and they do it over and over. "Swerve City's" swinging opening, the laboured but purposeful structure of "Tempest", these are fleeting promises of a squandered potential. I knew they were capable of these moments, and I unfortunately know that there could have been many more of them.
I don't think Deftones are out of ideas, and I'm not even sure they're tired, and that makes the disappointment all the more palpable. I think they're afraid of offending, and judging by the enormous critical reception and popularity this has received, maybe they're right to be. A formula that works doesn't necessarily need to be changed, and meeting the demands of what's expected is apparently the band's new benchmark for success, but it isn't enough for me. If this is maturity, this is a progression, then you'll forgive me for wanting a Deftones who remember what they once were.
"the band playing to their well established strengths in a way that would be innocuous were it not so disingenuous."
Great line, pos'd dude.
Obviously I somewhat disagree with this review, but this was the first Deftones record that really clicked with me, so I guess it was all still sort of new at the time. Since then I have grown to love the band more, but I feel if I had been into them earlier I certainly could have similar opinions to you on this.
While my feelings are not as harsh as yours this album never really grabbed my interest. The same goes for Diamond Eyes, I mean it's GOOD and all but I'll take Around the Fur and White Pony over these new albums any day.
Well written. Pos. There are a few songs on here that do sound a bit generic for the band. Like the opening riff of Swerve City. Good song, but come on, that riff is pretty simplistic. I still really like this album. Nice review though.
You use uncommon words in their correct context, but then fail on several occasions to make complete sentences, or follow the rules of grammar to create a stunning juxtaposition of wisdom and immaturity.