Kaolin — 2001
((Not on label) no#, 2003, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2003-08-01
This Swiss five-piece has been around in one form or another for over eight years, but this five track 28 minute CD is their first release. Why it’s titled 2001 is a mystery, perhaps dating the recordings and not the actual release. With vocals, guitars, bass, keyboard and drums, they mine a territory equidistant from the introspective shoegazer styles of bands like Lycia, the richly emotional softer alternative field (but without all the attitude), and a somewhat avant-garde symphonic sound that, all taken together sounds very current, somewhat psychedelic, and totally accessible. Their strongest asset is singer Natasha Waters, whose soulful voice gives the song-based material a focal point over the droney but energetic instrumental base; her vocals often seems compressed and treated, even when multitracked, as on “Let It Rain,” giving a distinctly distant feel that serves well to allow the instrumental work shine through them. The material is generally slow-paced but energized, and the dynamics and textures vary from soft to heavy, but for the most part exist to support Waters’ voice. While they may compare with earlier Porcupine Tree, the songwriting is not that advanced, but nonetheless this is a strong first effort.
Related artist(s): Kaolin
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