(The Sounds Of) Kaleidoscope - From Where You Were To How You Got There
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(The Sounds Of) Kaleidoscope
From Where You Were To How You Got There

(The Sounds Of) Kaleidoscope are a five piece band hailing from the Washington D.C. area that play fuzzed-out, british-inspired space rock, which is probably not a big surprise given their name. With styles influenced by Spacemen 3, Swervedriver, and even early work by The Verve, the group drops twelve tracks of swirling guitars and keyboards with solid backing rhythm sections, while vocals most often find themselves relegated to being another subtle element in the sonic haze.

Originally formed as a trio almost ten years ago, the group has cut their teeth playing lots of shows and recording only a couple of EPs until they gained a few new members and recorded the full length debut of From Where You Were To How You Got There. The group seems to want to open things on sort of a bad trip, as "Because I Am Haunted" mixes queasy, dissonant guitar chords that never really latch onto much as disembodied vocals coo away and chugging drums keep a steady time. After another more harsh short track that basically revisits the themes of the first, the group wisely lightens up a bit with the more poppy "Oh My Mind." With a whole lot less fuzz and a touch of violin, the track breaths a lot easier and seems to fit the strengths of the group more.

The middle section of the album finds the group keeping a firm power psych pop feel, and it's during this point where they kick out most of their best tracks. "She's A Dream" alternates between wide-open spaces touched with slide guitar and feedback-drenched squalls of guitars while "New Language" might be the best straight-up track on the release, chugging along with heavily reverbed verses and launching into powerful choruses that again pile on the washes. In other places, though, the group seems to get stuck in weird little ruts, as on the overused chord progressions and sloggy pacing of "Certain Color Sky" and a couple other short and needless noisy interludes. They're much better when they stick to more straightforward styles, as on the garage-rock infused "Funny Cigarette." In some ways, the somewhat inconsistent album feels like the work of a group still trying to move in lots of different directions at once. Given that they've only been a quintet for a little over a year and this is their first full length release, it makes sense.

rating: 6.2510
Aaron Coleman 2006-02-22 20:33:37