KOYO – Live at RAK: Album Review

As Leeds band KOYO prepares the move towards their ‘much anticipated’ second album, here’s a chance to catch live versions of some of the songs from the debut album. Please come forward. We welcome you.

Release Date:    6th March 2020

Label:  88 Watt

Formats: CD, DL

A fine debut it was too. Perhaps lauded to an unfair extent by a Prog community keen to grab the new new thing, it jettisoned them into the spotlight via that route. However, all publicity is good publicity and all that.

Early indications in the form of Ostracised, Circles and Before are that their new material is definitely ‘not prog’. However, as Amplifier once said, it doesn’t matter which way we’re facing as long as we’re rolling forward, so here’s a chance to hear KOYO as they once were.

We’ve always been immensely proud of this recording,” is the band’s take on these live versions. “It wasn’t until after we recorded our debut album that we finally settled upon a solid line-up and really came into our own as a well-oiled machine.” It may be that in time these six songs will be regarded as definitive; the product of extensive gigging and ‘playing in’.

Strange Bird In The Sky is already transformed into a piece that moves along at a rollicking rate. By the close it’s on the verge of being out of control, just about reined in.

It kicks off an exercise in showing how songs grow and evolve. How the recorded version is just the start. Flowing into one another in complete performance, Jettisoned in turn, a much heftier proposition than the dreamy vibe from the studio before flowing into Ray Of Sunshine. The join that you wouldn’t notice, a swirl of Jacob Price’s electronics and into another heavier take on the original.

Jerky and angular riffing, like Talking Heads given some doom pills, gives way to a soothing interludes – hence the title. Agin, the electronics bubble and wail and you can see why the prog crowd were getting excited – visions of Keith Emerson stabbing away at his Hammond in years gone by coming to mind.

The cool vibe that comes from Jouska carries into Lost in The Kingdom as we get a whiff of the less intense yet no less worthy direction. In contrast, Tetrachromat branches out to eleven minutes plus. Experimental and possibly even a hint if improvisation, the acid sax break heralds the chill-out section that snakes its way towards a monolithic, almost freeform noise fest.

A fine and worthy record of KOYO as they once were; as they may never be again.

Listen to Jettisoned from the album here:

You can read KOYO’s Huw Edwards on ‘Why I Love…’ Queens Of The Stone Age here

KOYO online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube / Bandcamp / Soundcloud

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