Review of Dead Waves Album by Kyte

Leicestershire four piece Kyte seem to polarise opinion, one man's majestic dream pop being equally another's monchromatic Bono-isms. The feeling that an icy wash of panic set in at the realisation that album number three arriving for the band without a hit in sight certainly seems to pervade opener The Smoke Saves Lives. Singer Nick Moon musters his best Gary Lightbody whilst towering synths, MBV-lite guitars and drums being flayed to within an inch of their lives combine to leave arenas around Britain no longer wandering what they're missing.

Kyte Dead Waves Album

So far, so bombastic, although in defiance of stereotyping, single INSFHA reveals a way with the in-the-moment flurries of laptronic synth pop, a future/nostalgic exercise continued on You're Alone Tonight. Warmth and gentility however soon become Dead Waves second big problem beyond its initial sense of derivation. What happens is often pristine and pretty - take Fake Handshakes, Earnest Smiles or the lengthy title track - but almost childishly self absorbed and often stuck in the low gears. Where you sense that Moon & co. might be attempting to bring off something like the ethereal ambience of Sigur Ros, or the post-psychedelics of Animal Collective, there's only a sense of fuzzy half measures. The exception to this is the incandescent Guns & Knives, the one song that doesn't feel like about three minutes of its running time should've been lost in Pro Tools. Here alongside angelic harmonies the lyrics plunge darker - "All of our friends are dead inside..the blood you cough breaks up our fight" - whilst the gently sculpted chorus offers a tantalising glimpse of what Kyte could be about with more purpose. Shoegazing Marmite anyone?

Andy Peterson

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