JohnnyoftheWell
giving 4 reviews to albums only 3 people in the world have heard
Staff

Reviews 237
Soundoffs 66
News Articles 85
Band Edits + Tags 474
Album Edits 404

Album Ratings 2563
Objectivity 75%

Last Active 10-28-21 6:03 am
Joined 05-29-11

Forum Posts 360
Review Comments 42,067

 Lists
10.24.21 All Kayo Dot trax ranked 2021 10.19.21 Cringe index: Best New Music
09.29.21 SPUT ROYALE: FINAL (results) 09.27.21 SPUT ROYALE: FINAL
09.23.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 6 (½ final)09.20.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 5 (¼ final)
09.19.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 4B (playoff)09.17.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 4A
09.16.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 3 Group B09.14.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 3 Group A
09.12.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 2 Group B09.09.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 2 Group A
09.07.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 1 Group D09.05.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 1 Group C
09.02.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 1 Group B08.31.21 SPUT ROYALE: Round 1 Group A
08.29.21 40k comments / 2.5k ratings / ? wells 08.18.21 BET NOW: Friday 20th hitlist
More »

All Kayo Dot trax ranked 2021

LPs only i am a coward
64Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


TIER: NOT GOOD

An Eye for a Lie

Alright, alright, Blasphemy is a dull album and very much needed more wayward xperimentals and fewer plodding guitar musics, I hear you - but this misfired onslaught of vocal effects over an indistinct muddle of an instrumental was v much not the answer
63Kayo Dot
Plastic House on Base of Sky


All The Pain In All The Wide World

Gratingly long tripout of hazybaby scifi humwhirrs and a conceptually cool improv in which Toby D does new things with his voice. Not a fun or particularly engaging studio experience, probably at least a little exciting live though idk. Kills Plastic House's momentum as soon as it's begun, so more minus points. Meh.
62Kayo Dot
Hubardo


The Black Stone

Infamous Kayo meme song: terrible prologue for a superb album. I get that Jason Byron growling indecipherable whateverness over a nothing-backing for 6 fucking minutes was probably an apt way to open this crazy crazy journey, but it's a "what have I got myself into" opener in the most bemusing sense. Some bonus points for an exciting finale.
61Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


TIER: YH OKAY

The Sow Submits

A meandering dissonant instrumental thing that sums up all Blue Lambency Downward's inscrutable qualities without catching much of its intrigue. Inoffensive in sequencing.
60Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


Mirror Water, Lightning Night

The most woodwindy of Gamma Knife's lofi woodwind black metal tracks. Otherwise unremarkable.
59Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


Ocean Cumulonimbus

This one immediately starts Blasphemy off on the wrong foot; something about the opening guitar line never sat right with me, and the highlights are more or less a story of how-much-distortion-can-we-tap-into-here? Shaky attempt at a dramatic opening.
58Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


Right Hand is the One I Want

First half = Kayo lounge jazz, second half = autopilot BLD vibes. Remarkably forgettable for a Kayo Dot song.
57Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


The Something Opal

Similar story to "Ocean Cumulonimbus", but gains points for a relatively dynamic and personable vocal performance from Driver. Still missing the mark re. dramatic intrigue.
56Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


Midnight Mystic Rise and Fall

Fairly exciting opening, but otherwise more forgettable theatrics from Blasphemy
55Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io


Longtime Disturbance On The Miracle Mile

I feel that this song was intended as a breather in between two of Coffins' denser noiry post-punk sprawls, and it's more or less up to that mission. There are some nice vocal inflections here, but the melodies are a little flat by Driver's standards.
54Kayo Dot
Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike


Brethren of the Cross

My least favourite from the new album and rather unfortunately placed as track #2. It's got the same doom metal edge as many of the album's best moments, but it drags its heels rather more and settles into that somewhat amorphous swampy meanderspot that I don't appreciate from kreativ lower bpm metal. Workable moment to moment, but I don't like its overall shape somehow.
53Kayo Dot
Coyote


TIER: MMM YES I AM LISTENING

Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing In Roscolux

This isn't really a song as much as an atvonal gothy skronkhowl and I will never listen to it on its own, but am very much here for it. Unlistenable BOP.
52Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


Lost Souls on Lonesome's Way

Easily my favourite of Blasphemy's template Theatre Of Goth Guitar tracks, mainly because the guitar licks on this are actually pretty tight. Hooray for guitars. Driver has a couple of superior vocal lines, and I am happy! Still a little plain at points, but we're up a level now yay
51Kayo Dot
Coyote


Whisper Ineffable

The first of Coyote's two gloomy centrepieces is honestly a bit of a slog and a real moodflattener if you approach it at the wrong moment. One of the least approachable cuts in the whole Kayo DiscOT really, but it dishes out the attritional, harrowing side of this murkiest of albums like nothing else and TD's bass punctuations throughout that horrible skincrawler of a coda show off his tone like nothing else.
50Kayo Dot
Plastic House on Base of Sky


Magnetism

Magnetism is pretty much the poster child of PHOBOS for me insofar as I love the sparkly sparkly retrofuture analogue synthtones and the eerie guitar stabs that stab so nicely when you least expect them, but tracing a distinct rhythm or motif through it just gives me a headache, even though the dynamics are quite straightforward. It does has a climax, so there's that! If all you want from Kayo Dot is an Increasingly Loud showcase of freaked out space shit to trip your feckin brains out to, then this is a winner. I cannot handle it, but I see the potential!
49Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


Vanishing Act in Blinding Gray

Blasphemy's most epic ott haunted house diva moment epic song. It is long, it is epic, Toby straight-up nails its climactic middle clamorous doom section, the title is very good, it's got a lot going for it. This does not explain why I do not ever feel like listening to it, but it does net it a respectable spot on the list. Kl
48Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


Lethe

Okayyyyy, first controversial placement number #1! This the cute Gregorian one that trolled the shit out of anyone that went into Gamma Knife (the Deathspell Omega Unplugged Live Experience) blind, and a lot of y'all loved it. I geddit, it is kinda gorgeous, I should probably love it more, those string flourishes are nice, Toby's voice is nice, but 1) I don't like the bells bc #churchmemories and 2) it is too nice. So there. everyone is wrong
47Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


Ocellated God

hahahahaha, from the sublime to the utterly fucked wooooo!! this song is batshit. probably the wildest thing on Gamma Knife, weird crackgem album that it is. this one sounds like it's going to be straightforward rockin' metal for approximately one and a half minutes, until all hell breaks loose and the band go to war with themselves and the tempo gets lost and it sortof turns into a slowmotion whirlpool of dissowhirl and many tortured screams occur and other things too.

Being [[extra]] real for a sec, most KD songs sound so meticulously realised that this one's chaos in motion stands out a bunch (esp with the live recording), and it's somehow extra appealing to hear the band come this close to sounding like they're about to straight up lose control. it also hurts my head.
46Kayo Dot
Hubardo


Floodgate

This is a one-song fuck you to everyone who ever complained about Kayo Dot not playing enough metal post-Choirs. It's heavy and sludgy and fast and disgusting and long and way too fucking much to handle. Slightly better than Ocellated God by virtue of a drum performance from the depths of hypermagic HELL, but very much a bird of a feather. I shudder to think what this must have been like in front of KD's infamously lackluster live audiences. Big overkill.
45Kayo Dot
Coyote


Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature

Damn, barely a third of the way in and we're already 3/5ths done with Coyote?! It wasn't meant to be this way, I promise! This is the one I feel guiltiest about not sticking higher, which is partially correlated with how it sticks in my plebian mind as "the long one that isn't as unmelodic as the other ones". Am I wrong? This is probably Coyote's most meandering moment, even compared to Abyss Hinge 1's skronk war and Whisper Ineffable's feverchill - I don't really *get* that semi-uplifting extended horn intro, but I do like how it gives way to long ol' middle section rife with the bleak stuff. Once the song picks up from there, it's Coyote at its best: awkward, dark as hell, confusingly drawn out and thoroughly uncomfortable.
44Kayo Dot
Plastic House on Base of Sky


Rings of Earth

More sparklesynth space antics from KD's most aesthetic heavy album. This one's got a faintly Bowie-ish quality to it that I can almost groove along to, but it's still a denser and more drawn out than I feel it needs to be. Big fan of the doomy coda however, possibly my favourite vocal moment from the album. Not much more to add here - this is probably the only PHOBOS cut that stands undramatically as a pretty good song without glaring strengths or weaknesses
43Kayo Dot
Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike


TIER: HIT THAT- HIT THAT SNARE!

Get Out Of The Tower

One of the heavier (but nowhere near the heaviest) cuts from everyone's new favourite life-affirming 2021 album! I feel a little awkward ranking this, as I feel it has some way to grow with me. Short story is it's pretty great, fierce moments of doomchurn emerging from uneasy downtime bass amblings, all building to an unexpectedly savage outro. Phwoar, what a beatdown! Angry Kayo is rare mood, so enjoy it while it lasts. Thing is, I don't love one of the main heavy guitar motifs and Moss... already has enough songs that take their time to get to crushing places for this to feel more like a warm-up for that album's stunning final pair than anything else. Nice.
42Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


Blasphemy: A Prophecy

I've never been able to shake this track's large-bandaid-sized tabletop RPG itch: the combination of medieval Kayokitsch_rock and such unflatteringly clear enunciation of such [there are too many adjectives already] lyrics should not spark joy. It does not - I am criticising it!!! And quite possibly overrating it here, but I don't care ---- those medievalisms are actually pretty catchy and for all its ungainly Warning For The Ages-isms, this track does land a certain mystique that the rest of Blasphemy falls short of. Sometimes the direct path do be the true way for ye yung scions. Good track.
41Kayo Dot
Plastic House on Base of Sky


Brittle Urchin

PHOBOS' closer is a quite surprising downbeat dirgething with haunting vocals and a spooky drumroll. I hereby dub it: Space Doom. As a closer, I really like it tbh, it has a great contrast with the rest of the album and a somewhat evasive feeling whereby it could belong anywhere (or nowhere?) within the Driververse - without context, I'd have placed it on Leaving Your Body Map or maybe Part the Second. So it has intrigue!! As a song it is also pretty good, but boi does the intrigue in question demand a bit of album・discog context. Sneaky, sneaky shit right here.
40Kayo Dot
Hubardo


Vision Adjustment to Another Wavelength

Take Floodgate's unabsorbable deluge of extremities out of the picture, and this is the template Hubardo avantmetal hevy song. It is pretty fuckin heavy - that opening, the one right there, that means BIZNESS. Oomph. This is another track that works an absolute treat in sequence but maybe feels a little not-quite-polydimensional to offer as much as a standalone? It gets the edge over Brittle Urchin because Toby yelling "DUST" is badass and the guitars do dissonant semiquaver run things literally every bar and the atmospheric woodwindy coda thing feels like a potential final form of the Gamma Knife dissoDot mission statement, but I think all these are things Hubardo nailed bigger and better and zazzier elsewhere
39Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


Rite Of Goetic Evocation

My favourite of the Gamma Knife antimetal metal trilogy is probably the most mobile cut there. The guitarwork here is potentially the best on the album, love love love that woodwind interplay, love the incomprehensible satanchants, and love how the whole thing falls apart and rearranges itself at about three separate points. It carries a malaise of sorts, and that is EXACTLY what you want from this kind of diseasemetal. Bless you, Gamma Knife.
38Kayo Dot
Blasphemy


Turbine, Hook, and Haul

the _well-patented #1 track on Blasphemy is actually pretty great! More than anything else on the album, this one is misty synthscapes and slow creeping gloom, both of which are critical strengths across most recentish incarnations of the Driverhouse. It has suspense and atmosphere and these are good enough that it doesn't matter that it still comes off as a little meandering. Great track, almost great enough to take us up another tier, but I have patience and so shall you.

Also, under 50% of the way through and we are officially DONE with Blasphemy. Ngl I'm kinda surprised it took that long.
37Kayo Dot
Hubardo


The Wait of the World

Lest anyone forget, Hubardo is a fucking ginormous album which, as the cosmos dictates, means it gets a ginormous closer. The Wait of the World is 14 minutes long and although you *kinda* totally feel it by the end, it is also entertaining and cleaning as hell, in turn. The Big Band Bonks Off opening minutes sound like what people who have never heard the Mars Volta probably imagine the Mars Volta sound like (silly as shit but also mad fun), and there are some lovely mysteriousfloaty keys that cast a positive angle on whatever concluding cryptic storytime nonsense TD takes forever to croon at length over the album's final minutes by virtue of sounding quite nice. This is another album-only cut for me, but it's a bigass badass closer and it's hard to imagine Hubardo going out any other way. Chonk.
36Kayo Dot
Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike


Void in Virgo

Ooo look at that, we're almost halfway through the list, but we're UNDER halfway through Moss... ! What a positive sign! Void In Virgo is a decent indication of the newboi's quality, but it's perhaps the least representative stylistically; by far the most synthspaced out, by far the least metallic. The tones here are l u s h and it drifts beauteously, though perhaps a little much for my liking --- and yet all this is dust in the void compared to the all-trumping trump card that it has quite possibly the only rousing catchy melodicvocal CHORUS motif in the entirety of Driverdom!!! Pity we only hear it twice in 9 minutes.
35Kayo Dot
Hubardo


The First Matter (Saturn in the Guise of Sadness)

ummm so, for all the 0 people who haven't heard Hubardo and are reading this anyway, the way that album works is that the first third is a wayward fenderbender oddball metal romp, and then it cuts back and there's a 20ish minute lacuna in the form of 2 long songs that do introspective grotto things until the album is ready to get heavy again. The First Matter is the first of these, which is why it is named The First Matter. it is a nice slowburning spacerock/postpunk/goth trickle with hazyfazy textures and gratifying bass presence. is it a long transition piece or a proper song? I do not care!
34Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


Blue Lambency Downward

Damn, it's been like 20 places since the last BLD song, almost like we're talking about a really great album with a couple of hard duds hmmmm.

The title track is a weird one, even by Kayo standards - this was possibly their first song I ever listen to, and it didn't take me long to realise that the combo off miffed and intrigued that it stirred up in me was very much not a first-time thing. It's a tale of three tales now! The introduction and first vocal segment are perfect woodland minxspook vibes that set the scene for the album perfectly, the central psychedelic washing machine portion is something that I'll never get my head completely straight around, and the final section where everything stops and starts over and over and very memorable but slightly unsettling vocal motifs are wailed at length is something I've learnt to love I guess. Very good song, if a bit of a rough swallow.
33Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


TIER: THE BEST OF THE REALLY GOOD SONGS THAT I CANNOT AND WILL NOT QUITE SWEAR BY

The Useless Ladder

I really really really really really really really really really want to put this one like 2 places higher, but it doesn't have quite enough going for it. It's the inverse of the BLD t/t in that sense - everything here is palatable as hell, but it's so bare bones and succinct that it has a slight interlude pheromone going on. A well-placed pseudolude it is two, breaking up BLD's two finest cuts like an ominous skit in a pantomime from limbo. More memorable spooky stuff, love.
32Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io


Library Subterranean

Woah woah, there's another album that hasn't made an appearance for quite a while. Noice. Coffins is up there with Blue Lambency and now I guess Moss... when it comes to the middle belt of not-quite-masterpiece rly great KD records so ain't that nice. Library Subterranean shows off a lot of its finest qualities and, indeed, finest moments - everything is all smexy nerdy futuregoth perfection until the song plunges into flashing sirens and runaway guitarmelt, and it's an awesome high stakes car chase that looses all its stakes because it repeats for a literal eternity and nothing changes or happens. Not intense, not cool. A waste, honestly - this track could have gone much further.
31Kayo Dot
Plastic House on Base of Sky


Amalia's Theme

welp, that makes PHOBOS the second album we can cross out for this list. gg. I was pleasantly surprised that Amalia's Theme made it this high tbqh, but it's easily the most convincing showcase of the various things its album does right, so I guess it deserves it. those juicy synth tones are backed by a juicy MOTIF here, and the difference is night and day; its progression and rhythm is poised in between semigroove and antimatter at all times, and while i'd have appreciated just a tiny bit more substance, it's still enough to swing by. lovely lovely.
30Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io


Spirit Photography

this track is probably too long, but does have a great spooky smog-rearranging-itself-into-memory-smoke atmosphere and a strong spooky chorus and good saxophone so i like it and it as a good closer, nice one Coffins.
29Kayo Dot
Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike


Spectrum of One Colour

I'm a little unsure about where to put this one hmm, could be as many as 5 places higher or lower and time will tell and potentially cast it further in one direction or the other. But for the time being, it is badass and stays right here!!! This is the shortest cut from the new album, and - boi! - one of the heaviest. It's twitchy and anxious and infectious and full of nervous tension and delusory parasitosis vibes, which freak me out but I love. Things get crushing later on and phwoar baby you'd better believe in those growls. Not quite a banger, but not far off and plenty engaging I like it.
28Kayo Dot
Hubardo


The Second Operation (Lunar Water)

part the SECOND of the two operations in the middle of the album Hubardo is the longer and sparser and more nebulous one, and I like it better because it's prettier and because gorgeous chamber arrangements are perhaps better than trudgy spacerock psychjams within the world of the album Hubardo. I feel that - massive generalisation - a lot of Toby D's Kayo Dot compositions from Coyote onwards are geared more towards tone・timbre・mood・[dynamix] than specifically nice melodies or riffs or twinkles, but this is quietly lovely on all counts. how nice.
27Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io


Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22

ooooh baby, this night cruisin' post-punkin' evil-Grease hotrod is a real delight and quintessentially Coffins. Toby and the gang are driving a car, the vibe is dark and the air is catchy. there is a groovy bassline and you can sortof dance to this if you choose. quite unusually for KD, said Vibe finds itself actively bolstered by decent lyrics! Toby goes full bladerunner highway junkie and result is catchy, slick, creepy, quotable and infectious almost like a pop song! i would go so far as to call this the best David Bowie song in the KD canon. it also has a magnificent outro loop that reminds me of the Simpsons Hit and Run and is good enough to last forever, which is good because it really nearly does !
26Kayo Dot
Hubardo


TIER: SONGS I WILL HECKIN SWEAR BY

Crown-In-The-Muck

The first of Hubardo's really excellent heavy cuts, mmm yh. Crown-In-The-Muck takes a while to gear up, working its way through chilly arps and ominous horns and occasionally sounding something close to playful until nature takes its course and it hits a miasma of a sludgy doom horrorchorus and all manner of frights unfold. I love many things about this, including some individual riffs (!!!), but one of the main Things is that it keeps its groove and pace with high discipline, occasionally cracking out the odd drum shatterburst but otherwise schmoozing along like a well-oiled black heart over evil packice. It is dark and exciting and other things also
25Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io


The Assassination of Adam

Phwoar boy, I somehow forgot about this one before weighing up this list - goodness knows why, it stands out like a sore thumb on Coffins' vaguely neon suspensescapes! It's a terrifying noir banger, kinda a shit-hits-the-fan moment, except the album so far has been prepping you for a thriller climax with a couple of evil corp cops and a ghost, and the reality is more an underground empire of Kthulu worshippers or some Squid Game scenario invested in actual organ harvesting, idk. That is the tone. There is chaos and darkness and woodwind, and tbh it's pretty impressive to hear KD make a song this heavy without resorting to metal tropes; Coffins' goth palette is its good sexy self on this, even if you can feel it being strained to its limits. Yes to paranoid heavygoth bombardments. Anyway, I was initially going to place Adam a little higher, but then I also remembered that it's a bit of a one-trick. Too bad - but also, so good
24Kayo Dot
Choirs of the Eye


Wayfarer

OMG A CHOIRS SONG OUTSIDE OF THE TOP 5 yh ikr epic. Wayfarer is epic and beautiful, but hot damn it's too elegant! Too pretty! Too clean! It's ~~~kinda~~~ perfect, but it doesn't demand nearly as much of its listener as the other songs on Choirs - and if nothing is being demanded of you, what do you get in return! Nothing!! It is *nice* that Choirs has a classicalchamber epic prog rock track midway through that only works in melodies and romantic lyrics, but I never felt like Wayfarer had enough going on to sit entirely comfortably on that tracklist. so there. Anyway, in the same way that The Wait of the World is the Mars Volta for people who don't know the Mars Volta, this is King Crimson for people who don't know King Crimson (whoever the hell that is). absolutely wonderful piece but it doesn't cater to the right fetishes
23Kayo Dot
Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike


The Knight Errant

Time for another NEW SONG!!! As per ever, this placement is a little tentative *but* The Knight Errant is a hot ticket ! It hits the ball out of the park in the opening notes - now *there's* a creepy avant-hook!! - and then drags you along deliciously perniciously slowly for 8minutes of raspy fantastical suspensechurn, ft. many many growls and slow tempo oddrhythms yes. The exboys of ex-maudlin of the mthrfuckin WELL cook up a treat of an atmospheric metal doombacking, and they carry it all the way up here - and yes this track is metal as all fuck. Driver's ever so slightly melodramatic doomgrowls recall the early days of motW where doom was very much the order of the day and Byron was the main deathlord on the mic (we're talking Psychobells here, Bath casuls). Anyway, it's clicked harder for me with every listen and is most cert absolute defo confirmed a badass as swampshit opener. There are more openers still to come. I guess KD are good at openers XD
22Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


Clelia Walking

Clelia (?!!) is kinda the postergirl (!) of Blue Lambency for me - it's atmospheric as all hell, initially hard to read, seemingly a little meandery, but spellbindingly paced and ultimately very smartly realised.

Those are too many words. I choose one: "spellbinding" - there's something fae and warped and distantly warm about this whole album, like some kind of ambiguous but not harmful and tantalisingly out of reach naturemagic, and this track teases it particularly well. Shit's a long, winding woodland path with inconsistent levels of light and a generous quantity of unexpected tones and instruments - Clelia walks, alright! She walks over rustling keys and a nervous violin and even clamorous guitars! Watch her go!! And then, when she's done walking, Toby D shows up and ends things on the line "Come back and I'll tell you more...": absolutely the kind of snarkydick energy I can jive with. Great song.
21Kayo Dot
Coyote


Cartogram Out Of Phase

Oof. Where to start. Shivers. Most of Toby Driver's stuff feels like primo imagination stimulus to me, strange sounds evoking strange spaces, or sometimes familiar ones in strange lights. Even at its most *out there*, it still invites that kind of creative engagement, the music drawing links to wider atmospheres, the lyrics often near-arbitrary conduits for associated feelings. One thing leads to another, and those wonderful murky compositions are the path along which it all happens

Cartogram Out Of Phase is the total opposite. This track isn't an imagination springboard, it's a morbid black hole. There are words for it - short, funereal, dirgelike, austere - but I don't like using them because the whole *feel* of this thing isn't something that suggests or demands wider association or imagination, but rather an uncomfortable emotional drain that I don't really want to try articulating outside of my own heart. That's as far as I'll go; unique, horrible track.
20Kayo Dot
Hubardo


Passing the River

One of the side effects of Hubardo's standing as a Long Epic Album Composed Of Many Distinct Songs is that, more than any other KD, the big_twists take place over its entire tracklist and not so much within individual tracks. Not so on Passing The River! This track is maybe the most unpredictable weirdo journey on the album, and it's a treat! It's also remarkably chill, almost catchy (animals and insects, bby) until it isn't - and then it starts f・ckng with us as much through minimalism as maximalism! It's a cleverly structured piece, easily one of the least constrained by Hubardo's sometimes overwhelming xpermntal METAL brief and one of its most satisfying cuts on repeat listen. Shrewd shit !
19Kayo Dot
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue


___ On Limpid Form

I can hold it off no longer: it's time for a Dowsing song. On Limpid Form is potentially maybe the most controversial song in the whole Kayo Dot canon, for the simple dumb reason that it pairs a short(ish) stretch of disarmingly palatable prog rock whimsy with a 12 minute marathon of droning clanging rackety guitarstuff and - controversy point! - it sounds awesome. That melodic early song-within-a-song is excellent, but perhaps a little too clean (see: Wayfarer). No matter; that outro gives it all the edge in the metaverse. It's a situational thing, but the album flow accommodates it perfectly - in all honesty, I probably wouldn't like those 12 mins half as much if they weren't such a perfect cleanse of the soul in advance of the borderline immaterial following track Amaranth the Peddler's zany fairyhangover nirvana expanse. It is what it is and Dowsing is the bee's knees. Dope.
18Kayo Dot
Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike


Epipsychidion 

Moss... is *maybe* the most metuhl album in the KDiscog and motW's early death/doom roots really show through the reunion roster, BUT the bulk of the record feels intensely focused, anchored to a songwriting discipline that doesn't allow for the colourful digressions or explosive changes of tone that once ran as motW's lifeblood. this is maybenice, but what's even nicer is that this track is a rollercoaster blowout - it's heavyDot going OFF on one on all cylinders on melodic and violent and limpid form and it sounds glorious. don't even try to keep track of the structure here, this song unpacks and repacks and contorts itself into a multitude of blistering guises and then it burns out by way of approx 5 minutes of gnarly drifty well deserved drone metal, which is a just about adequate time window to sit there spangled purring mmmm what a treat. mmyhssss awesome closer
17Kayo Dot
Coffins on Io


The Mortality Of Doves

As everyone ever knows, Coffins on Io is easily one of the most consistent KD albums without quite landing on the top shelf - it's one vaguely accessible retrofuture gothscape after another, and putting its songs in ranked order was a little tricky bc they're all mostly great - but The Mortality of Doves is the best because it's the longest and most atmospheric and most indicative that there might be a sense of something Epic And Captivating the other side of the dirty windscreens and musty smartphones and ghost tech that the rest of the album largely confines its scope to. We know this because there is a really excellent Epic bass riff that is repeated five hundred million times because it freakin deserves it. That's good songwriting for you. Coffins is also a treat for Tobby's vocal hooks, and most of the best ones are on this song. Convenient?! Well, yes.
16Kayo Dot
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue


Immortelle and Paper Caravelle

Awwwww this is the softest cutest most willowy dandelion seedhead of a song ever. It's like 10 minutes long and nothing happens except one cute verse and a few nice chords and some trumpets and that is enough because the inner harmony is so strong and so soothing mmm I want to wake up next to this track every morning. It doesn't quite get full marks because there's a nagging sense that if you try to hug it it will likely disperse into the ether, but it's as close to the platonic ideal of perfect truthlove as lovely pretty immaterial things come (actually that's a lie - we can and will get a little closer in a few places' time stay POSTED)
15Kayo Dot
Hubardo


Thief

i remember when this dropped as a pre-release single and i sent it to my aspiring music student buddy and he said it was pure awfulness and then i remembered that he was a periphery fan and now we haven't spoken in years. this was for other reasons, but maybe this song STOLE our friendship uhuh. ANYWAY, this is one of Hubardo's fun cuts and was a great choice of single - it covers a lot of ground in short order, tearing away at metalrabies before doing heavy slow melodic 7thchord stuff before picking up and riproaring through a *quotable* finale (that final line hnng). Thief is a good time yo, and perhaps more than any other song in the KDverse it bounces off its Weighty Narrative in a way that could potentially be organic?? but is definitely upbeat. shit's intense as hell but somewhat playful and always going from strength to strength, love it
14Kayo Dot
Hubardo


And He Built Him a Boat

Kayo Dot's one and only creepy backwater musical theatre majestic gateway track. Good fucking mems, all told - I remember losing my shit several times over when this dropped as our first glimpse of Hubardo and, for such a relatively accessible song, its hooks hold up remarkably well so many years later ! That haunting tremolo motif and those elegant verses are clean and pure and intriguing, but the real delight here is in *backing vocals* of all things [gasp]. Makes me wish Toby did things with supporting vox more often, but I guess that means more mouths to pay and expectations to feed, pfft. Anyway, if there's one big catchy great single in the Driververse, this is IT! of course it's moody as all fuck.
13Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


TIER: SHE LOVES YOU YEAH YEAAAH YEAAAAAH

The Awkward Wind Wheel

Hahahaaa this song is crazy man oh heck, BLD is a soundtrack to tripping magical mystical balls in the forest of ersatz animals or whatever, but at this point things get abruptly volatile and the tempo goes way up and the band are suddenly playing a million weird-catchy melodies that the rest of the album seems to have been very actively evading (excepting the aforementioned cheapo lounge on Right Hand) and it's a couple of microfibres away from being a total mess but oh man, the energy is right here. It's a banger??? I guess??? probably a fair bit underrated and definitely one of the band's coolest instrumentals mmm that forest is a freaky place alright
12Kayo Dot
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue


Gemini Becoming the Tripod

Toby Driver's Artaud hour for occult vocal torture and supreme tentacle love strain is equal parts superparody of whatever your turtlenecked latte sipping AnCo coldplaying hipster imagines avant garde metal to be and also midkey bitchin fantastic. I don't know if KD have any other track that owns its ridiculousness quite so well as this one, and it helps that the section in question in sandwiched between a gorgeous instrumental opening that sums up early Dot perfectly in and of itself (Mia really was the biz huh) and a nice off kilter distortionmelt guitar outro that is yes, indeed, heavy and ended up being the project's farewell to metal for many years. This is a heavy song. it contorts and wretches and is too much but also exactly right and it is probably a good thing that Toby doesn't have any other pieces that tried to repeat it. ideal choke anthem.
11Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


Gamma Knife

It has been 28 places since the last song on Gamma Knife; lest there be any doubt, the title-track is by far the strongest cut on offer there. It is eerie, oh goodness, sparse interplay between piano and guitar supporting a vocal performance that packs an uncomfortable amount of conviction into a borderline disembodied register. The name of the game here is CHILLS and halfmemories and dusty forgotten objects and a faint lingering shiver that says that *something* is out there, nanometres beyond the visible spectrum and already further into our world than it should be. This is a haunting and it is perfect. Hubardo dredged up much of the same territory for the Second Matter, and TD's solo work certainly has a lot in the same vein, but this track remains a high watermark for his personal supremacy of spook, an irresistible intuitionwarning against spending too much time in dusty rooms where no-one is listening.
10Kayo Dot
Coyote


Calonyction Girl

Top 10!!!! Chills intensify further mmm: Coyote is a tough pill to swallow, but its opener maps out its ballpark of despair with relative directness and astounding bleakness. even then, it took me a while to learn to love it; a lot of the album is a too little much of a lightless gothbassy sprawl to get my claws into and while Calonyction Girl certainly has moments of that inclination, it draws them all back to far more substantial nuggets of great songwriting. case in point, things are on the verge of falling apart entirely by the two-third mark, but Driver pulls them back to a mechanically repetitious coda that draws breath from a single stroke of Matsumiya's violin like a dying animal gulping water. everything else about this whole song and album feels *wrong*, but hearing it come together in a harmony of sorts at that one point is perhaps the most awful, disturbing moment of the lot. a slow grower, but oh so worth it.
9Kayo Dot
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue


Amaranth the Peddler

AND AMARANTH THE PEDDLER WAXES POETIC TO MNEMOSYNE Alright, confession: this is probably the hardest song on this whole list of songs to rank in the appropriate slot, and the reason for this has less to do with its quality and more with the fact that I hardly consider it a song to begin with. Yeah. Amaranth is a long murmury sleepverse attached to 14 minutes of sparse pluckings and shimmers that sound like whatever it sounds like when an album takes a very long time to end and everyone knows it. The thought of following On Limpid Form's 12 minute deathfeedbacker with *that* should be a sick joke, but as it happens I utterly adore the vibe of this antisong and would happily bask in its moonswoon until my dozy zany eyes too deliver lunacy. This is the real deal. This is what graceless dreamers think they're talking about when they describe such uncosmic works as the Sigur Ros brackets and Laughing Stock with other people's literature degrees. This is a beautiful waste out of time that comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere. Fuck music, this is what moments are for. And now, here are eight pieces of actual music that are even better. Yum.
8Kayo Dot
Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike


The Necklace

Okay... this is new, and a little awkward and maybe a little unnecessarily personal, and mayyyybe it has a bit of recency bias that I'm allowing myself to indulge bc I v rarely get that kind of discog-reshuffling hype over new shit from bands I actually like and respect and am enjoying it while it lasts, but wow, this song is the bomb. Moss' doom leanings get subsumed into a delirious whirl of synthed out vaguely-black-metal and while this sounds like my worst nightmare in many ways, there's something utterly riveting about it. Toby D's harsh vocal performance is perhaps my favourite ever and it's paired against a delicate drum take that sounds more like it's trying to hold him together than to exacerbate the song's *absolutely timestopping* levels of suspense.

There's also something reassuringly simple about it - for all its harshness and particularity, The Necklace is just an arrestingly passionate performance balanced on the brink of restraint and paired with a couple of choice chord progressions. For something so chilling and "heavy", it's astonishingly beautiful - and if that's not a classic KD trait through and through, I couldn't tell you what is.
7Kayo Dot
Hubardo


TIER: 7 MODS 7 BODS 7 GODS

Zlida Caosgi (To Water the Earth)

Okay guys, I KNOW that Kayo Dot is mostly a long moody expatiencerimental vibe for people with short beers to stroke soft objects to as they lean back slowly into their slow moods, but Zlida Caosgi is *not like the other Kayo Dots*. This is a fucking zinger, a banger, a speedyspeedy thrillride with a dizzying number of hooks and excitements. And SYNTHS, holy fucking shit, that central section where someone sets off gandalf's fireworks in the versynthes hall of mirrors is a ball and a half and don't we all know it. Sure there are other explosions and such like in the Dotverse, but this one's adrenaline rush and good ol' dumb fun are unmatched. Hooray for weirdo metal < 3
6Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


Symmetrical Arizona

A few years ago* you could have convinced me to stick this gorgeous spooky smokey psychedelic guitar solo haze ft. conjoined excellent edgy prog song a few places higher, because it is impeccable and tasteful and listenable whenever tbh and I love it. The reasons why it is not higher are that the guitar is a rhythm instrument not a wanknoodle (even if this solo is still perfect) and, mainly, that I feel a *tiny* bit less positive about the haste with which that wonderful progpsych verse that the track takes foreeever to build up to, uh, ends. And how long the subsequent outro groove then lasts - all these parts are excellent, but I feel they're just a tad out of balance with each other. Not that I really care about balance; I just want to start a cult to this song and make all the members wear dark purple woodland robes and eat astral marshmallows on the nightly. FAB.

*uhhhhh [cringe]: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=538903&listid=129989
5Kayo Dot
Choirs of the Eye


The Manifold Curiosity

Okay sit down and don't freak out let me explain uhhhhhh, so. The Manifold Curiosity! is obviously perfect? and probably one of the best songs ever❓ and I adore it! So we are the same.

But also we're not, because there is no way this is my favourite KD. Similarish to Wayfarer, it's a liiiiiiittle bit linear, a little predictable, and a little well-behaved; sure, that finale is a demented hellstorm, but the final segment telegraphs it so clearly over such a long period of time that you're gonna be ready to handle it after your first couple of listens. I don't to handle it; I want it to *destroy* me - so, while still the opposite of disappointing, it ain't overwhelming me so much these days. The first half is a different story and obviously g o r g e o u s, like, holy mother of meat, what a beautiful climax, *but* this too hits a very very high glass ceiling because the melodies are the same elegant noodling 7th chord/arps that every experimental band ever from the 00s used when they wanted to be pretty; it almost seems more motW than a true Kayo Dot moment. Not that this matters (much), but there's something naggingly textbook on the furthest margins of this otherwise astoundingly well realised song that holds it back from being the be all and end all for me. Whatever it is, it ain't that far off.
4Kayo Dot
Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue


Aura On an Asylum Wall

The role Aura plays in Dowsing's sequencing is quite similar to the one Manifold plays in Choir's, so I've gotta say it's *adorable* to seem them land next to each other. Big aww. The reason that Aura is higher is mainly down to edgecred - where Manifold follows an obvious road map, this one is ambiguous every step of the way; it's clear it's headed *somewhere*, but every section of this song feels like a departure from rather than an obvious successor to the one before. To that end, I LOVE that the abrupt noise meltdown that wraps it up feels like a dirty joke at the expense of the idea of a gratifying climax - the expectation hanging over me on repeat listens is more of a *ur gonna get played here* than a *ur gonna love this*, and because I hate myself and love this band, that is perfect. It also has a pretty nervous little Mos Eisley Cantina instrumental jam in the middle, and maybe my favourite Mia violin part. Idk, there are loads of instruments playing off each other and all of them sound really really good. And what a fucking excellent song title.
3Kayo Dot
Choirs of the Eye


A Pitcher Of Summer

Toby Driver's dreamy floaty Jeff Buckley experiment is pretty as hell. It's dense and [cringe lyrical alignment moment] really does chime with my seasonal memory. I don't know - maybe there's not so much to this song in comparison to the rest of the 7tier, but I love that its development comes in waves, building up and kinda drawing back before the next part comes in, and those cute lil shymelodies are enduringly lovely and - sorry Manifold - some of the most original on Choirs. I'd never have put this in the band/album's top 3 back in the day, but it's stuck with me so perfectly that it'd be a shame not to. Also that final scream is delicious and *so* well-earned and more than a little disarming after the entire rest of the track; that's how you pull a twist - sorry Manifold. Fucking memorywaves and song waves and dynamics, man. Nice dream.
2Kayo Dot
Choirs of the Eye


Marathon

Let's finish this: the best tracks in the Kayo dimension are the Choirs bookends and I will broke no disagreement. Marathon is the least amazing of the two because I'm not 100% convinced by the dialogue between its apocalyptically heavy first half and the ambient as all spaced out timeless fuck keyboards of its second half, but each is so individually magical that this is hardly an issue. Or maybe I'm wrong, I dunno - the first half kinda feels like having your soul dragged out of your body by ghosthooks reaching from fifty unseeable directions at once, while the second is like watching it disappear into the murky murky beyond in slow, vaguely shiny, motion. Does this mean that a full listen of Choirs induces a phantasmic, immaterially sensitive state in the listener? Quite possibly I dunno, but this a phenomenal opener and comfortably the peak of quiet floaty melodicDot, once it gets there. Mm.
1Kayo Dot
Choirs of the Eye


The Antique 

this is the best song

it does not build up, it digs down

and down

and then it gets there

and it is terrifying

and it stays there

and howls

and howls

and howls

until it cannot go on

so it stops

and then comes that midway meltdown that lives up to the avantmetal overdiscussion in a way that nothing else in this band's discog or beyond really comes close to and melts my fucking face and heart into corrosive slurry ever single time there is no surface hard enough for my hands to clutch onto with enough force to feel like i could realistically escape the moment that is doing these strange piercing violent things to my state of being and all that

it burns out before we do

and then it does an immaterial pianocroon coda that sounds like sigur ros if they were playing from purgatory instead of whatever B-B-Blissful uncanny valley

the final cadence is perfect

it is perfect

i like this band
Show/Add Comments (136)

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy