Some bands fit the mould, some bands break the mould and other bands like Kobadelta make music like the mould never existed in the first place. Their music would have been right at home in the 70’s psych-rock scene where frankly nothing made sense unless you were staring at the ceiling with the curtains closed tripping out of your mind on LSD. Kobadelta don’t make music that fits a genre, they make music which bends your mind.
Open Visions is the band’s 3rd EP and serves as the follow up to last year’s offering Remain Distracted, a record which was reviewed on these very pages. That record was so different to pretty much everything else that was out at the time and as I result I was really interested to press play on this new release.
Some songs and projects break you in gently but there is emphatically none of that here as Even The Odds (They Mean You No Harm) launches into life in the biggest way possible. The drumbeat is frenetic and the fuzzy warmth of the guitar and bass riffs is something that I will never get tired of. If the intention was for this track to lay down a marker for the rest of the record then it does that and then some.
Following track Blame It All On Me is unsurprisingly a different kettle of fish entirely. The opening strains are the like the sound of the most tortured mind being bent and contorted beyond all recognition. The pace is markedly slower and the track as a whole is far more purposeful and imposing. Having said that there is a nice tempo change as the song wares on but the overall sinister feel remains.
Maskirovka (A Russian term broadly meaning ‘Military deception) envelops you with a kind of psychedelic, grungy roughness. I’ve always been a fan of the deadpan style delivery from frontman Dom Noble; it just fits the band’s sound so well. If he delivered the lyrics with the same kind of flamboyance found in the instrumentation the whole thing would be a mess. It’s a contrast which balances the band out and in many ways it’s the constant which holds the chaos together.
The next couple of tracks see the band uncharacteristically refine their sound a little bit. The music is still unorthodox but it carries a greater focus. Watch What You’re Doing in particular feels like a psychedelic indie track if such a thing exists (It does now) but the whole thing feels more compact, and more like a traditional song in terms of structure. This makes it a lot more approachable for the casual listener; this is the less intimidating face of Kobadelta. And it also features what is one of my favourite lyrics in recent memory;
These bad habits he got them from you, the monkey chewed tobacco in the zoo.
Need I say anymore?
Ithaca is more of the same just with a slightly rockier edge. The vocal is delivered through an outrageous amount of echo which makes it sound like the voice of your conscience echoing from the back of your mind. I really love the guitar work on this one as well, I like the guitars on every song but their unadulterated rawness really stands out here. Closing track Black Pyramid starts out at absolutely breakneck speed before slowing to a slightly eerie crawl. I feel like it bookends the record really well and the way which the track kicks up through multiple gears towards the end for a towering guitar solo is a real standout moment.
From a personal point of view I’m a big fan of this record. It improves with every listen but you need to be patient with it. I don’t think it’s one of those where you’ll hit play and fall instantly in love; you need to give it time. Every track is very different and tells its own story but at the same time they also join together to create a gloriously fuzzy and psychedelic cohesive project. This is not an ordinary band making ordinary everyday music, this is a Kobadelta. This is against the grain, and flying in the face of what is ‘normal’ and trust me when I tell you it’s also pretty damn good.
Open Visions is released 1st May in conjunction with a launch show at Think Tank in Newcastle, and if you want check out the band’s music for yourself just hit the link below.
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