Attention Deficit Disorder LP
One dreary night in St Mary’s, Southampton, a little known music journalist bared witness to a little known local band named Kyoto. He was impressed. He liked the heaviness mixed with angelic vocals. He liked the authority with which they stormed the Joiners upon that evening. All of which was magnified when the following band of the night paled in comparison to Kyoto. That journalist is me by the way, and now I have their CD in my grubby little hands to pass critical eye over.
If there’s one thing that sticks in my mind about Kyoto’s performance that night it’s the infectious main riff on opener ‘Sequel’. Criminally simple (perhaps the secret to its success), it lodges itself inside your head and refuses to budge, and it’s certainly obvious why the lads chose this cracker to kick the album off with. ‘…and More’ continues the trend with a majestically sweeping vocal line in the chorus (at least I think it’s a chorus) that contrasts with the minimalist verses. So far, so good.
The third track, ‘Green’, calms things down a bit with it’s eerie verses that leads into a calculated outro lasting roughly 3 minutes, signalling Kyoto’s fondness for songs pushing the 6 minute mark. In fact more than half of the 11 tracks on A.D.D. require your ears for roughly 6 minutes, a length that in some cases can prove slightly too long. ‘Blush’ for example contains a verse that begins to lose its charm after being repeated 4 or 5 times, as well as having a section of vocals that sounds far too much like a line in Audioslave’s ‘Getaway Car’ (not that the latter comment matters too much, I just can’t stop thinking about it).
Kyoto’s ambition seems to have outreached their (or their sound engineer’s) ability in several instances, such as the floaty filler sounds at the beginning of ‘2 Ft Tall’ that appear clearer and more powerful than the actual song they lead into. Once the track kicks in we are greeted by a muffled vocal effect that just sounds cheap and nasty as opposed to the restrained layered vocals found earlier on ‘Sequel’, a track that seems to have raised the bar slightly too high for the remainder of the album.
It’s not that any of the music is badly written, (quite the opposite in fact aside from the odd overly long track) it’s the way in which it’s executed on record that lets Kyoto down. Having felt the power of these riffs and soaring vocals live, its hard not to feel slightly disappointed at how this vital element of their sound has been lost in the recording process. Rocking tracks such as ‘The Principal’ lose almost all their power due to sloppy layering of effects and vocals that seem to have taken attention away from simple issues such as the guitarist’s fuzzy ( and again cheap) sounding guitar sound. Some of these licks are truly rocking but sit too far back in the mix resulting in an album that has a ‘samey’, uninspiring sound throughout.
Although a lot about Attention Deficit Disorder screams over ambition, this is not to say it is a bad album. Kyoto are a good rock band that make good (occasionally heavy) music, however you know what they say about too much of a ‘good’ thing. Why record a 68 minute album when 40 will do?
Final track ‘Thanks For Your Concern’ is a three minute acoustically-led meander through bare-bones rock music. Different and interesting; such a shame the same cannot be said for the rest of the album.
Guest article from Matt S.
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