Album Review: KAYO DOT Plastic House On Base Of The Sky
Kayo Dot have always been something of an anomaly. A proggy, synthesizer heavy project that never failed to evoke strange emotions inside the listener and a band who continually serve as a bitter reminder of the twisted inherent darkness that this kind of music can have. Their latest offering only adds to the legacy: Plastic House On Base Of Sky emphasizes everything that has made the band great over the years and then goes a step beyond. With moments that are both poppier and weirder than anything that this rogue collective has done in the past, it's hard to envision Kayo Dot doing anything other than what they are right now. Collectively changing the face of music, this is a band who understand what resonates with the heavy music scene, injects a jolt of The Cure and is ready to alter the very structure of the earth. Their spaced out Hawkwind-esque solos dominate the record and serve to remind us of the dark majesty the band has always had, even when they were ignored.
Listening to Kayo Dot is not necessarily a challenge; however, to understand a lot of what is being done there is definitely a certain prerequisite familiarity with outer sound. With songs that endure for over ten minutes, Plastic House On Base Of Sky may not be changing the face of heavy music directly but they definitely force you to think and guide you to explore new sound worlds. See, there is something wonderfully cultish about Kayo Dot and their approach to music. The wide open ethereal chords plinking away are only matched by wonderfully spaced out vocals and guitar parts that serve to construct a stunning, subtle melody. There is a certain wonderful intellect behind the music here. It forces you to reconsider the power of stripped back instrumentations and potent guitars. There are not a lot of bands who can so flawlessly compose as Kayo Dot can, just as there are few new bands in this scene who can't trace their musical heritage back to Kayo Dot. That's the beauty of these cult like bands. They give us a look at the darker side of ourselves and provide a friendly little wave. It's with the dark vibes and grey skies that Kayo Dot conjure up that we are able to embrace what heavy music is truly about.
Plastic House On Base Of Sky is not a metal record. In fact, Kayo Dot are less metal even than their ancestors in bands like Goblin or Kraftwerk. That's not the point though. Kayo Dot isn't really supposed to be for metalheads. Kayo Dot is for all people who love bleak music. It's for people who want to get washed up in the darker side of things, and yet also see the silver lining. People who understand how hard this thing called life is and want to fight with you to fix it. This isn't something we can fix on an individual level, but rather a perpetual burn, a drive for a world that most of us choose to ignore. So yes, Kayo Dot get weird as shit. The vocal lines explore all sorts of strange musical pastures and the band sometimes gets lost in their own journeys, but that only adds to how organic the whole thing is. Kayo Dot are impossible to get into, but amazing. In other words, Plastic House On Base Of Sky – while being probably the most 'Kayo Dot' Kayo Dot record yet – is also a reminder that weirder does not always equal better. Even if Plastic House On Base Of Sky will have you coming back time and time again. We're metalheads. All we seek is to understand.