Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Album Review: Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 - Kumoyo Island

Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様
Kumoyo Island
***and1/2 out of *****

Recorded during lockdown in their native Japan, the acid folk/psychedelic rock outfit Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 deliver their final studio album as a group, deciding that Kumoyo Island will be the last release from the quartet (who also wrapped up their final tour this fall). 

The band (drummer/vocalist Go Kurosawa, guitarist/vocalist Tomo Katsurada, bassist Kotsu Guy, guitarist Daoud Popal, and saitarist/keyboardist Ryu Kurosawa) had adopted Amsterdam as their base of operations, so being back in their home country brought a different sense of wonder during lockdown as the group took some traditional Japanese folk inspiration and inserted it into their enjoyable, funky pop fusion. 

The album opens strong with "Monaka"the tracks name taken from a type of sweet Japanese wafer, as the band uses melodic inspiration from traditional minyofolk styles around a spacey intro, sweet singing and funky riffs. The band is never afraid to mix up sounds and styles as "Cardboard Pile" begins like a 1995 U2 rocker before morphing into a spaghetti western cinematic funk soundtrack, or the progressive rock of "Yayoi, Iyayoi" with it's shifting light funk sounds and changes. 

"Dancing Blue" is high point as the band begins funky, laying down a dance ready beat before the riffs repeat and swirl, going long in hypnotic, afro-funk fashion. The instrumentals glow around the groups sound as "Effe" uses horns and percussion, drifting in/out of fashion while "Daydream Soda" floats on twinkling chimes above ominous bass. 

Not everything is so serene or successful, the brief "Field of Tiger Lillies" is one distorted riff that goes nowhere, while the finale "Maison Silk Road" sounds like a new age let down after the gorgeous music that comes before it. Some of those tunes, like the Beatles influenced "Meu Mar" expertly uses sitar and a wailing guitar solo in trippy Sgt Peppers fashion while "Gomugomu" delivers circular, buzzing layers, crafting a distorted, lo-fi psychrock hoe-down. 

The acoustic, ocean accented "Nap Song" is a sweet ditty as the band wraps up their career, which is going on indefinite hiatus after the release of Kumoyo Island. With this release Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 prove that they are still at the peak of their strengths with this solid release.

Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

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