Kinski - Down Below It
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Down Below It's Chaos

I've heard just about everything that Kinski has released to date, and to my ears they've always seemed like one of those groups who is a couple good songs or a couple nice twists and turns from creating something that's stellar. They've been prolific, releasing an average of a full length a year since their debut came out in 2001 and they've put out a split release with the somewhat like-minded Acid Mothers Temple along the way. They've always flirted with some seriously head-tripping spaces on their releases, and for my money their best work is the excellent Airs Above Your Station (their debut for the Sub Pop label).

In the time since that release, the group has slowly woven some heavier influences into their music, blending in some metal Sabbath-esque riiffage along with their more drifting sections, and Down Below It's Chaos is no exception, rocking the hell out on several tracks while also experimenting with some different instrumentation like horns, organ, and flutes.

Still, the same problem that has haunted many of their past releases is something is still plaguing the group here. Although they've transitioned into a more power-fuzz rock band on many tracks on this release, the results are so workmanlike that they lack a real solid punch in the gut. Tracks like "Crybaby Blowout," "Passwords & Alcohol," and "Child Had To Catch A Train" certainly rock, with piled-on fuzzy guitar that drive forward with sturdy rhythm sections, but there's little on the tracks that makes the heart quicken as they plod along with telegraphed chord changes and very little dynamics.

The group is at their best on the beautiful "Argentina Turner," offsetting trippy sections with heavily-reverbed guitar and droning flutes with short, muffled stoner-rock sections that play off one another well. On "Plan, Steal, Drive," they stretch things out over the course of almost eight minutes, and overlapping guitar melodies coil in on one another during an extended opening section before the group brings down the house with a thunderous second half that's the most powerful section on the album. I imagine that a group like Kinski works better live during their more straightforward rock songs, but on Down Below It's Chaos it makes for an album that feels a bit rote.

rating: 5.7510
Aaron Coleman 2007-09-13 20:45:50