Review Summary: One of the most genuinely heartfelt and uplifting ambient post rock albums the listener will ever experience.
Even though post rock often proves itself to be one of the most engaging genres out there, it ironically is the one that more often than not can go into one ear and out the other. This problem lays in how many bands of the genre are accused of trying too hard to be emotional or cathartic. Not to anyone’s surprise, the most influential and well known bands are even guilty of this at times. As amazing as Sigur Ros is, even they happen to inject an undeniably tolerable dose of forcefulness every now and then. However, the big problem is that not every seasoned music listener can forgive this aspect of post rock. Every genre has their flaws, but when it comes to Kenotic
, all flaws are immediately thrown out of the window in favor of some of the most genuine ambient post rock moments the listener will experience. Different styles aside, the pure emotions that Kenotic
pleasantly expels into the listener’s ears instantly recalls the lush subtly of Talk Talk. Make no mistake that this album will not only prove to be evocative in the purest sense, but also downright tear jerking at times.
Capable of being both undeniably uplifting and sorrowful, Kenotic
definitely packs one hell of an emotional punch. Take the one-two punch of “Winter Light” and “Miles to go Before Sleep” for example. They act like a two part ambient soundscape bursting at the seams with sadness, recalling the loss of someone that was profoundly loved. It’s the droning guitar textures and soaring ambience that truly heightens the mood of driving through a thunderstorm. However, it doesn’t bring to mind a sense of dread that an album like F#A#
by Godspeed You! Black Emperor conveys. Instead, it makes the typically dreary weather seem beautiful and even makes it a worthwhile experience to be out in it. Instead of forcing emotions down our throats by means of sound waves, it’s these two tracks alone that displays what it means to admire the beauty of the world.
Further exploring this theme is where “Overcast/Sorrow” and the title track comes in. Making great use of subtle yet epic percussion, “Overcast/Sorrow” immediately invests the listener in its tranquil soundscapes of lush guitar work and downright cathartic atmosphere. Meanwhile, the title track offers a more trippy experience by means of a simple yet fantastic trip hop beat and evocative use of the reverb. It’s songs like these that shows how Kenotic
isn’t an album just for listening pleasure. Though it also brings to mind the negatives of life, it’s a means to have the listener’s mind wander through the positive thoughts, experiences and essences of what makes us human as well.
Heightening this mood even more proves to be the post rock masterpiece that is “Stars in the Rearview Mirror.” The beautiful distortion and reverb opens the song, sucking the listener in right off the bat with its positive vibe. The effective percussion paves the ways for the powerful guitar work that truly sends goosebumps down the listener’s spine. It doesn’t build up like tradition post rock does, but instead it seeks out to subtly convey an overwhelming amount of profound optimism and it does so without ever being corny or cheesy. Legitamtely complex and potent, it’s songs like these that without a doubt highlights why post rock has the potential to be one of the best genres out there. The same can be said for “Blankets of Light,” but in the more traditional post rock. Continuously building by a means of emotionally resonating guitar textures and soothing vocals, this song will definitely touch the listener’s heart.
What it really comes down to is that this album is meant to make anyone feel amazing when it comes to everything about ourselves and the world as well. It focuses on the bad things that happen too, but it’s the situations that happen in the past that makes up the person that exists later in life and even now. Songs like “Wish” and “What Heaven Allows” both heighten this aspect of the album. While “Wish” conveys this with a refreshing amount of unique sounds and relaxing guitar work, “What Heaven Allows” defines this. Forget about the insanely atmospheric guitar and effective keyboard use for a second and examine this phrase: “Take a little walk in the back of your mind/Take a little walk in the back of your life.” It’s this lyric that says it all about this album. It’s albums like these that shows us that no matter what happens, no one can give up. Simply wandering deep enough into the back of your mind to dig up the optimist aspects of the self does wonders for the psyche. If one stops and looks around for a while, it becomes clear that light can always be found even in the deepest bowls of the darkness, no matter what. Kenotic
fully embodies this.