In our very own city of Leeds, come the five piece indie rock group Koyo and their self-titled debut record. A ten track album that almost brings together that melancholic sound of the 80's but with a modern and contemporary twist. Available on double black Vinyl LP, a limited red and blue coloured double Vinyl LP or CD, and is released on 88 Watt.
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When I heard that Koyo were an experimental prog band from Leeds, I just had to get in there and review them. There are very few metal reviewers at Norman Records, but I guess there are very few metal records at Norman Records, too. As soon as the promo came in, we stuck it on and the atmosphere in the office was not too enthusiastic, but I was quite looking forward to it. It's not metal though so I don't know where I got that from. It's more of a dreamy prog sound with nods to Radiohead, Pink Floyd and the Porcupine Tree.
The record starts with Strange Bird in the Sky which is probably one of the most encouraging starts to an album I’ve heard in a long time. It starts with that Tool/TesseracT style guitar sound that brings so much atmosphere to song, and sets the scene perfectly. The track also ends with a pretty powerful guitar solo, which was rather unexpected.
As the record goes on, there are some parts that sound kind of like filmic music, or a little bit like space rock, which is cool. But, it really is hard to sit down and listen to the record without having a massive urge to skip tracks. The tracks that are good, are actually really quite enjoyable, "Lost in the Kingdom' is probably one of the strongest tracks with that classic atmospheric sound and a repeating circular vocal refrain.
It’s a shame, because I always love hearing new music from new and local (local to us in sunny Leeds) bands. Maybe this record will grow on me the more I listen to it. 'A Ray of Sunshine 'isn’t too bad in that respect. There’s a decent guitar riff all the way through that keeps your head bopping along.
Their dreamy atmospheric rock has nods to the prog intensity of early Muse, I can also hear bits of Shudder to Think in some of the scattershot rhythms but they aren't afraid to chuck a ballad in there too. It's music that is kind of unhip at the moment but Koyo do it pretty nicely. They rein in their overtly prog influences to produce a blend of space rock and intelligent headphone music that on 'What Is Mine' culminates in lovely guitar arpeggio's and twirling vocal refrains.
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