Kings Kaleidoscope
Beyond Control


5.0
classic

Review

by jacobclark512 USER (18 Reviews)
June 25th, 2016 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Break me free to live enchanted, beyond control

Kings Kaleidoscope is one of the rare bands in Christian music that isn't afraid to do whatever they want. Looking at their discography makes this plainly obvious. In addition to recording church-focused worship music (most of it from their days at Mars Hill Church in Seattle), they have also created what I cite as one of the most game-changing albums in all of Christian music, their full-length debut Becoming Who We Are. It combined the sonic complexities of the incredibly dense indie rock created by bands like Broken Social Scene, The Polyphonic Spree, and Arcade Fire with incredibly poignant, heartfelt, vertical lyrics.

Here's the question, though: how do you follow that absolutely perfect, widely acclaimed monstrosity"

Well, in Beyond Control, Kings Kaleidoscope has given us the answer, and I don't know if it's the one that everyone (especially me) was expecting.

You see, one of the things I loved about Becoming Who We Are is its sonic density and complexity. It was one of the most instantaneously grabbing albums I have ever listened to from a musical perspective. Beyond Control, on the other hand, strips a lot of that massive, epic sound away. That whole incredibly dense thing they had going on" Yeah, it's pretty much gone now.

Now, that may sound like a bad thing, but here's the funniest part of this shift: it's actually incredibly rewarding. There's a lot less of an overwhelming sense to the music, which might actually make it better to some ears. Beyond Control also shows some increased usage of horns, which in addition to some choral bits make the record have some serious soul and swagger at times, in particular "Most of It," "In This Ocean Pt. I," and "Sabotage/Home." Their previous efforts showed brief moments of this, but in Beyond Control there's this bouncy feeling that underlies most of the album's first half. It makes for a very interesting listen that is strange at first but addictive after a few times through. Even though that epic, sweeping feeling is gone, the album is still excellent and shows a striving for incredible artistry while showing musical change and evolution.

Lyrically, there's a much different feeling to Beyond Control than the more corporately focused music Kings Kaleidoscope has been releasing before. Chad Gardner, the band's lead singer, said that this is not as much an album for the church as it is for the individual Christian. It is intended to be for private moments of worship, and the lyricism shows this. It's much more inwardly focused on our individual relationships with both God and the world and how we need to interact with each. The first non-instrumental track "Enchanted" shows this theme quite plainly and sets the overall tone for the album: "I'm connected in a daze / Roam unconscious disengaged / In a simulated world / I sustain / Swimming senseless through a void / Ease my appetite with noise / In a stimulated world / Go insane." The entirety of the album revolves around this theme of being "beyond control"; however, the more I listen to it, the more it feels like it's less about us being unrestrained in the way we live out our faith and more about how we need to let go of our own control over our own lives and give it over to God. It's a really cool album lyrically, and for some people (including possibly me) might be more relatable than Becoming Who We Are because of its theme.

Now, typically here I'd wrap up my review; however, there's one more thing that needs mentioning. If you take a look at the tracklist on iTunes or Spotify or wherever, you might notice that there's an explicit tag next to Beyond Control's twelfth track "A Prayer." This is not a typo: twice there is an explicit lyric that is either this, "Will I waste inside the silence" / Where the fear is f**king violent" or a slight variation. There is an extended and really cool story behind the way that Chad wrote this song, and I highly encourage those curious enough to go see what he has to say. If you're not interested in hearing this language, there is a clean version available on both digital and CD that replaces it with "vicious violent." I personally prefer the original uncensored version here because of both the story behind the song and the fact that the explicit version makes more lyrical sense to me. If you want to skip even the clean version of this record based on principle, go right ahead. I won't object to your convictions. If you never read my writing again because I actually support the use of this lyricism in this context, so be it. I just want to make you aware of this and let you know that there is the choice in front of you to listen to a clean version of this song. Believe it or not, this is actually right now my favorite song on the entire album because of God's response to Chad's prayer (the prayer itself is where this lyric is contained). It's also incredibly musically interesting and is definitely worth some kind of a listen in either version for that reason alone.

Honestly, I'm having a tough time giving Beyond Control the same perfect score as Becoming Who We Are because of the way the latter has affected me. That being said, this is still one of the best albums I've listened to so far this year because of its incredible lyrical poignancy and its adventurous genre-blending musical choices. If you've got no deep-seated objections to the explicit lyrics either in execution or principle, I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing either version of Beyond Control. It's an incredible piece of music that is more than worth your time.

Rating: 5/5

Best tracks: "A Prayer," "Enchanted," "Lost"" "Most of It," "In This Ocean Pts. I & II"



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Friday13th
June 25th 2016


6126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, Jacob. I was gonna review it but I think you did it justice. My only critique is try to better connect the section on the explicit track with the rest. Maybe remove some unnecessary explanations about your stance on the issue.



But yeah I thought it was weird a worship band just threw caution to the wind and included "Prayer". I don't mind, but I already got my fam into them. I think I'll just get the clean CD. I also really like the last track!

Digging: Duke Ellington - The Far East Suite

jacobclark512
June 25th 2016


27 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the love! I really appreciate feedback on my reviews.



The main reason that section is there is because this same review was also posted on my blog. There's a lot of people who read that that might question why I'm highly recommending an album by a Christian band that uses explicit language, so I felt it necessary to explain in detail.

YoYoMancuso
June 25th 2016


12715 Comments


sweet review man

Friday13th
June 25th 2016


6126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening again. Well this is clearly the best Christian rock album of the year! Unfortunately yet unsurprisingly, it's stirring controversy. The #2 album on the itunes Christian chart has the explicit label? lol

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2016


15795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh awesome new album!

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2016


15795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

reviewer you should really listen to the reign of kindo if you were so in love with this band's last album

jacobclark512
June 26th 2016


27 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't think they do, especially on this album. Some of their earlier stuff is more for the church as a worshiping body so this might be better for you lyrically from that perspective.



Calc, I am listening to their EP Play with Fire right now. It's interesting stuff. I'll make sure to dig into their catalog a bit. Thanks for recommending them.

ProjectFreak
June 26th 2016


2184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What Calc said. Kings K has a lot in common with TROK, but TROK is even better in most ways (the vocals will floor you on some tracks). This is What Happens is one of my favorite albums.

ProjectFreak
June 26th 2016


2184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"So those this band sound at all pretentious for its delivery in message or not? Siunds pretty cool and im atheist and curious(though lyrics usually dont matter)"



I wouldn't say pretentious, but definitely honest. It's not like Thrice, who wraps up a Christian message in a poetic package that requires a little thought – Kings K is a Christian worship band, they're just technically talented with thoughtful arrangements, which makes them an anomaly among worship bands.



That said, I'm a Christian, so YMMV

TheForbiddenFool
June 28th 2016


5 Comments


I tried to give this a lower rating and all I got was a white screen that said "no". What the fuck is that all about because that's seriously making me hate this album even more if it won't even let you rate it on an honest level?

Friday13th
June 28th 2016


6126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hm there have always been barriers to keep trolls from rating highly-rated albums 1.0-1.5, but I had no idea it could take effect after only 5 votes. That's ridiculous.

robkoi
June 28th 2016


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album! But it feels wierd listening to it at some points, being an agnostic and all.

Digging: The Midnight - Nocturnal

YoYoMancuso
June 28th 2016


12715 Comments


probably gonna check this out today

bgillesp
June 29th 2016


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Where can I find this album to check it out? I could only find their first album.

bgillesp
June 29th 2016


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, I do not have Spotify.

jacobclark512
June 29th 2016


27 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's available for purchase on iTunes and most of the other major digital music providers. If you want a CD version it's available on either the band's or label's website.

Friday13th
June 29th 2016


6126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's up on youtube now.

Danred97
July 5th 2016


1490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is what I wish more "christian" music sounded like. The muscianship and vocals are just impeccable. A Prayer is one of the best worshipful songs I've ever heard, f-bombs and all.

Digging: Tigers Jaw - spin



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