Tuesday 18 June 2013

Kassini - Immune

Album review by jay@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

An intricately-woven Eno-esque soundscape brings you into the world of Kassini and 'Immune'. This ambient collage intro on first track 'Speak Your Mind' steps aside as singer John Hogg brings his strong voice into the fold. 'Speak Your Mind' ebbs and flows, with Beatle-like flourishes of multi-coloured sounds, all builds slowly and stately, like some ballet of space-crafts in some far flung orbit. Second track 'Game Is Over' brings back those sparse sounds; twinkling flashes of light on a lush backdrop. Now Hogg is outlining "flashes... across the sky", 'Game Is Over' then gets its shake on. With an undeniable nod to 'I Am The Walrus' in the second bridge, Kassini grace us with an intelligent song that sits alongside alt-rock peers The Goo Goo Dolls and the much missed Jellyfish. The song adds some muscle to itself and gives you a epic conclusion. After the stomping glory of 'Game Is Over', Kassini take you back out there, this time the sound is somewhat starker. 'Up In The Air' has an elegant edge and twists and turns on some majestic sounds. Hogg's huge voice powering the track.

Kassini describe 'Immune' as a concept piece. This doesn't mean that it's meandering and over-indulged, and 'Just Like Me' is a prime example of that. This is a hulking rock song; taut, built of a low slung riff, held up with those wonderful harmonised melodies. It has touches of Living Colour and Jane's Addiction in its groove. A highlight of the album. With the next track, 'Immune', Kassini wisely side-step a double-header of rock and give us a much more expansive track. Here Hogg paints a Wall-like vision of a neo-apocalyptic scene. 'Immune' builds and builds then truly steps into vast realms, as we're told there is "a new day coming". Another highlight. 'Leave This Town' can only sound smaller by contrast, then it's more intimate than smaller. It has smokey, closing-time, feel to it, then with a peal of drums it lets loose, but still retains a unexpected level of intimacy and feel.

A seemingly backward-played vocal line brings us into 'Got Tto Get Out'. Here there is a sparseness to the instrumentation which is picked up by a lone guitar and a vocal from Hogg that sounds echoed from a spaceman's helmet while watching the stars. It has a feel of mid-era Feeder, and unfurls to be quite a charming grand pop song. Kassini then throw a little surprise up with a lush, mellow and so, so pretty acoustic lead which grounds 'Seeing Things'. By holding back on the bombast and panache they deliver a mesmerising song, that has echoes of Peter Gabriel, then it stands alone as a song filled with life and hope, both lyrically and musically. An unexpected, but lovely surprise, 'Seeing Things'' more gentle feel seems to set the tone for the closing clutch of tracks on 'Immune'.

'Arya' has Middle-Eastern flashes, and weaves a rich of tapestry of sounds without becoming swamped in itself. 'Immune' is a long album by today's shuffle-happy standards, in a bygone time it would of sat across four sides of vinyl, wrapped in some stunning gatefold sleeve. But with 'Loosing Your Way' you feel that 'Immune' could have done with a little editing. It's not a bad track, but its impact is undermined, and consequently your attention to it wanes slightly so far into the album. A robotic. soulless voice consumes the first section of 'No Way Out'; it does act as a little sonic breather, then Kassini pull out all the stops. Another truly huge song as they seem to strive for their 'Kashmir' and don't really fall short. Unlike 'Loosing Your Way' you want 'No Way Out' to last for another ten minutes. 'Immune' winds down and closes with 'Gone'. It feels as the sun is setting on the album's ride. This maybe a concept piece and enjoyed as such, but it is above all an intelligent, expertly-crafted and delivered album. As 'Gone' draws to a close with the last piano chords, you feel that you have been on quite an epic journey.

Kassini's website

Pre-order the album

Catch them live:

Boston, Monday, June 24
The Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, Massachusetts
NYC, Tuesday, June 25 at 9:00pm in EDT
The Bowery Electric, New York
Philadelphia Wednesday, June 26 at 9:00pm in EDT
The Grape Room, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Asbury Park, Thursday, June 27 at 9:30pm in EDT
THE SAINT, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Kassini with Ragers Wednesday, July 3
The 5th Street Pub, Parkersburg, West Virginia
Kassini with Ragers - Cleveland! Friday, July 5
The Happy Dog, Cleveland, Ohio
Summerfest, Sunday, July 7 at 4:15pm in CDT
Summerfest Grounds, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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