Kyros – Four Of Fear EP
White Star Records
Release Date: 27/11/2020
Running Time: 24:33
Review by Steven Hooke
Not content with releasing one of 2020’s most expansive and anticipated albums in June, London quartet Kyros surprise released this EP in November with only a two-month writing period, owing their newly-found free time to the plethora of COVID-19-related tour cancellations. Frontman Adam Warne went on to say that the band had achieved a streamlined online workflow that resulted in “Four Of Fear” as well as their new band project: ‘Celexa Streams: Isolation Gigs’, a series of lockdown gigs that saw socially distanced collaborations with members of Haken, Frost* and Ihlo.
With this intensely creative response to our new lockdown world, you would be forgiven for thinking any music made in this streamlined tunnel may sound rushed or a little scrambled, but “Four Of Fear” is nothing of the sort. An unimaginably visionary and warmly complex collection of music, the songs on this EP are all written in isolated creative vacuums, resulting in four tracks all sounding completely different, but owing to the songwriting expertise of the band, all sound like natural bedfellows next to each other.
Opener ‘Ace’s Middle’ begins with a War of the Worlds-esque imposing synth riff and tune, interspersed with smatterings of drum and synth duality. As the song progresses, and the synthline takes over the bass, guitars and even vocal melodies, the fluctuations and bastardisation of that tune create music of genre-ignorant structure that echo prog’s keyboard-heavy precursors of Yes, Genesis and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
From the 60’s and 70s’, we then move into the 80’s for the back-combed synthpop joy of ‘Fear Of Fear’. Arguably the most “normal” song of the release, and the song the band most liken to the 2020 album “Celexa Dreams”, the track is a bass-heavy electro armada complete with short drum blasts and a synthline on the chorus that sounds like the doorbell at your nan’s house.
‘ResetRewind’ completes the stepping stones of seminal decade genres by skipping the 90’s and going straight for 2000’s dubstep, mixed with just the subtlest whiff of new wave. Building on an experiment they employed on their 2016 sophomore album “Vox Humana”, ‘ResetRewind’ doesn’t feel too far away from Alex Clare’s wub-wub days, but a brilliant collective effort from bassist Peter Episcopo and drummer Robin Johnson do not let the song whist too far away from their proggy realm.
Lastly ‘Stop Motion’, the song that actually kicked off the songwriting process of “Celexa Dreams”, is a much more tempered, focused affair. A dramatic, emotional drop reflects the heavy nature of the song lyrics, dealing with some painful themes about suicide and depression, yet it is this drop and subsequent section thereafter that circles back into a War of the Worlds-ian sci-fi climate as Warne’s keyboards and Joey Frevola’s guitars battle it out for song supremacy.
This is an absolutely fantastic release. From only four songs, so many styles and experiments are on display, never once faltering and never feeling like a caricature. A Devin Townsend-like approach to a wall of sound-style production, allows for so many layers of musical storytelling to come through, partnering Adam Warne’s genre-bending voice exquisitely. If this is Kyros’ version of going stir-crazy in lockdown then shut down the planet and hook it straight into my veins (not actually because I’ve forgotten what grass looks like and want to go outside but you get what I mean, it’s proper good like).
01. Ace’s Middle
02. Fear of Fear
04. Stop Motion
Adam Warne – Lead Vocals, Keyboards
Joey Frevola – Guitar
Peter Episcopo – Bass
Robin Johnson – Drums
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