AMN Reviews: Kayo Dot – Hubardo

English: Kayo Dot in Santa Cruz
English: Kayo Dot in Santa Cruz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While you could think of Kayo Dot as heavy avant-prog from Brooklyn, categories don’t do this group justice. Led by Toby Driver, formerly in Maudlin of the Well, Kayo Dot combines a rich set of palettes and styles. They build on what has come before without sounding retro.

Comparisons? Try the red-headed stepchild of Mr. Bungle and Dillinger Escape Plan, with some Dead Can Dance, John Zorn, Godpseed You Black Emperor, and death metal sprinkled in. The overall sound is concentrated on vocals and guitar riffing, supported by bass and drums. Add to that the occasional sax, flute, and organ, and you have an eclectic range of textures. For instance, “Crown-in-the-Muck” begins as sax and guitar driven progressive rock, then morphs into thrash metal. On the other hand, “And He Built Him a Boat” combines post-rock stylings with atmospheric vocals.

As I listen to Hubardo, sometimes I think that I’ve heard all of the elements before – but never combined in this particular fashion.  At 100 minutes, some of which is slow-moving, there is a lot to digest.  It is likely that I’ve missed many details on the first few listens. Nonetheless, a remarkable release.

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