# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Kinski - Down Below It's Chaos

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 8 / 8 / 2007

Kinski - Down Below It's Chaos
Label: Sub Pop
Format: CD


Ballsy rock on somewhat cumbersome sixth album from Kinski, the first to feature vocals from the previously all instrumental Seattle-based post rockers

Like all the best bands Kinski was formed in a bar. Arguing over the differences between analogue and digital recording founder members Chris Martin and Lucy Atkinson were interrupted by bar tender Dave Weeks. Coming down categorically on the side of analogue Weeks ended the argument and formed a band. This was all a long time ago, a different time, a different age. To be precise, 1998. Since then Kinski have remained ahead of the post-rock curve, releasing six albums over the course of the decade, oscillating between outright noise freakouts, post-rock soundscapes and conventional rock structures. Whilst never reaching the apogee of a specific genre the Seattle group, now a quartet with additional guitarist Matthew Reid-Schwartz and Barrett Wilke taking over on drums, have mutated through a number of incarnations; consistently shifting expectations and never offering a simple answer. Until now. 'Down Below It's Chaos' is virtually straight out rock, and for the first time offers vocals from guitarist Martin. First track, Crybaby Blowout, is just shameless head nodding rock. Fuzzed out guitars pound out from behind dark sunglasses, accompanied by the drums of some long forgotten war and Atkinson creating a feverishly fast beat on the bass. It sounds like getaway music for stolen sports cars in the Texas desert; gradually increasing in speed till the track breaks through the border guards and into Mexican freedom. 'Passwords and Alcohol' follows and gives Martin his vocal debut. Whilst his voice is nothing to write home about, it is competent and grizzled, carrying the swagger the band crave. The track itself is initially a little more straightforward, jangled guitars accompany the pounding drums before Schwarz reaches for the windmill moves to unleash a visceral wall of noise. Tours with Acid Mothers Temple and Comets on Fire have obviously taught the band a few new tricks. 'Dayroom at Narita, Int'l' keeps the heads nodding, sounding like a Deep Purple riff, simple, sustained, aggressive chords matched with 20 a day Marlborough Reds vocals to create somthing heavily indebted to classic rock. Layers and layers of studio manipulation are applied to the guitars but the results dull with age as the track marches on, not really offering much in the way of development. A wailing guitar solo is filtered in later on but again fails to hit home. The centre piece of the album is 'Boy, Was I Mad!', initially slow burning in homage to something as immortal as 'Stairway to Heaven', before the inevitable eruption of guitar psychedelic freakout. Waves and waves of sound crash from the speakers filling the room, but the it becomes apparent the group lacks the imagination of somebody like Higashi Hiroshi of Acid Mothers Temple; whilst the riffs are heavy there is no versatility and little dexterity to the track and the rewards are looted rather than charmed from willing hands. The production of the record is partially to blame here as well, as bass and drums are often favoured over the guitar even when they are merely keeping rhythm and creating space for the more intrinsically interesting elements. 'Argentina Turner' slows things down a little, filled with redolent, natural soundscapes before 'Little Child Had To Catch A Train' continues the beating tempo set early on. 'Down Below Its Chaos' is a pretty straight forward record. Its aggressive opening, whilst maintained in terms of ferocity and intensity is not sufficiently moderated to maintain interest over the course of the record. The initial ear-catching sounds don't develop sufficiently to reward repeated listen and the whole exercise comes to sound a little empty; placing posture and style over substance and actual songs. Kinski are masters at controlling tempo, building slowly from dust upwards to a roaring crescendo, but what gain with these devices they are unable to develop with fully formed songs.

Track Listing:-
1 Crybaby Blowout
2 Passwords & Alcohol
3 Dayroom At Narita Int'l
4 Boy, Was I Mad!
5 Argentina Turner
6 Child Had To Catch A Train
7 Plan, Steal, Drive
8 Punching Goodbye Out Front
9 Silent Biker Type

Label Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

digital downloads


Alpine Static (2005)
Fourth album of krautrock psychedelia and post-rock from Seattle quartet and instrumental group Kinski

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors