Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kylesa - From the Vaults, Vol. 1 LP (Season of Mist)

If this had been released as a proper studio album, it is safe to say none of Kylesa’s exponentially budding fanbase would have been the wiser. A title like From the Vaults, Vol. 1 usually works as a disclaimer, in the sense of providing a framework as to who should be alerted to the release (hardcore fans) and what they should expect: an endearing historical document, contextualizing the band and uncovering prescient snapshots of their current, past or future glory. A patchwork quality in recording and unfinished zygotes of song are excusably revealed, while the inclusion of covers is standard issue. From the Vaults, Vol. 1 includes two such covers and features a song called “Drum Jam,” so while these assumptions are not completely irrelevant, Kylesa’s sixth full-length LP bears a thoughtfulness worthy of its place alongside 2010’s Spiral Shadow in the discography. The comprehensibility was intended. It is properly sequenced and uniformly booming in sound. Old songs, previously released or not, are never just upended from the floor.

It is more like the past revisited, with out-of-print fan favorites like “A 111 Degree Heat Index,” “Between Silence and Sound” and “Bottom Line II” completely re-recorded for Vaults, the last of which has changed to reflect its live, speedier rendition. Kylesa’s ever-expanding genre base is fully represented, making this a valuable compendium. The band’s sludge upbringing is cited verbatim with a Buzzov*en cover. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” speaks to their future of allowing more psychedelic and improvisational moments on their next album, slated for spring. It is this future and the sense that Kylesa is good for the long haul that is the most exciting aspect of this release. It is the first volume after all, implying that a dearth of material from the future-past will become available. As another batch of songs, three unreleased efforts previously remiss of vocals, further makes clear, Kylesa is neither shy of the past, embarrassed from missed connections, nor unable to grow forward.

-Elizabeth Murphy          

-from Agit Reader