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spin029 KYLESA
Static Tensions
spin029 (2012) LP - $12.00

Savannah, Georgia's Kylesa return with their fourth full length album Static Tensions. Static Tensions marks album number two for Kylesa with their 5 piece, 2 drummer lineup after 2006's monumental breakthrough Time Will Fuse Its Worth. The band fully utilizes the many percussive possibilities that such a lineup provides, immediately apparent on the blistering opening track "Scapegoat".

Static Tensions also sees Kylesa further progressing with their songwriting, both in terms of the psychedelia suggested on the Time Will Fuse Its Worth record and the sheer brute force and memorable structures they've become known for over the course of their career. The at times blackened death metal feel of "Said And Done" and the piano-laced, middle-eastern tinged "Running Red" highlight this diversity of sound, yet at all times it remains distinctly Kylesa. The percussion heavy "Unknown Awareness" is perhaps the most emotionally heavy tune the band has ever written.

Static Tensions is the definitive statement from Kylesa so far and will surely top year end lists across the board. Adorned with artwork by John Dyer Baizley of Baroness the album's visual aesthetic matches the cerebral nature of the music within.

This vinyl reissue is on sea-foam green!

"...In the past, Kylesa's songs were often about a minute too long. Their head-down pounding worked well live, but dragged on record. Now riffs repeat only when necessary. Songs climb up and down with relentless momentum. "Scapegoat", for example, is basically a hardcore punk two-step. But despite this newfound efficiency, the songs are more baroque than ever. They flaunt melodies shamelessly now. Choruses are insistent. Practically the whole record is hummable. The bright theme of "Unknown Awareness" arcs like a rainbow overhead. "Running Red" alternates Slayer harmonies with riffs redolent of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man". Laura Pleasants' singing, once a buried gem, is often upfront. She ranges from a mysterious coo to more forceful declamation. Both provide a feminine contrast to roiling, downtuned riffs underneath.
Headphones, or a good stereo, reveal this record's masterstroke: production that mostly separates the drummers hard left and right. This yields both greater clarity and density. Together, the drummers form a prickly thicket of percussion. But they often separate into rich counterpoint. "Said and Done", for example, pits blastbeats on the left against slow accents on the right. They're playing in time, but they're almost fighting each other. The body is torn as to how to react.
Such push and pull echoes Kylesa's lyrical obsession with time. Yesterday and tomorrow are common concerns. The specter of aging haunts this record, with repeated references to fading away. "Insomnia for Months" swims in a haze of "Multitude of memories/ Left in a stupor/ Sobriety out of boredom." But the delivery is sharp, with ride cymbals cutting through tumbling syncopations. Kylesa's lyrics lean towards the abstract and personal. They avoid grand gestures or obvious themes that allow for easy grasp. (Contrast, for example, Mastodon and mythology.) This time, though, grasp is almost moot. The band has etched light, dark, sky, and earth so deftly onto wax that it vibrates the very soul."
- Pitchfork



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