16 May 2015

Kezia - The Dirty Affair

The Italian odyssey continues!  Yes, we are back in Italy again with this release from Kezia; the story behind this band is that the main three members (Pierlorenzo Molinari, Antonio Manenti & Alberto Armanini) have been in other acts before (according to the press stuff that came with the album) and they decided to get back together to create some outland-ish music with a lot of elements.  Swing, Rock, Pop, Electro - and most importantly from their point of view, Prog.  Now on there website you will find a photo of the band, so I must say that they do look rather dashing; also after a brief listen, I have to say that they are on the more.....raggy end of music.  Now for me this release should have been an album, but the band have labelled it an EP; therefore in ATTIWLTMOWOS maths, it will be judged by the lower score marking system.  So, let us see how these dashing box of maniacs sound....

Opening track is “Before I Leave” which comes across of the offspring of Dream Theatre, Biffy Clyro and the more out-there moment of Devin Townsend, but with slightly less metal (stay with me on this one).  There is moments where each of the instruments are given a chance to shine, but it is more rock out then metal out – this works in the songs favour for the most part.  It is a strange track from the opening and switches from style to style with relative ease (piano lead rock, off wall lunacy, heartfelt moments, Mike Patton screeching), but it lacks a little bit of power between the moments; this sort of style needs to be taken with care and the first few moments of the song do not quite met those lofty ambitions, but as the song moves on everything falls into place and the marriage of styles begins to feel as if it is sinking in especially when the guitar solo kicks in.   “Ebola” labours under the same problem to begin with, the indie pulsing disco vibe of the beginning of the song is very catchy, as it the low slunk and emotional bridge and chorus with its dramatic keyboards; but the Zappa/Devin segue feels a little bit too jarring – and this is coming from a man who is a fan of this type of music.  Next we are introduced to the title track “The Dirty Affair (Between Pelican and Bear)” which actually works much better; it moves between sections with ease and does not feel off the wall for the sake of being off the wall, everything seems to be in its right place and when it goes on a different route it done correctly.  The band call this their ode to different types of beauty on the press information, I can hear that in the song as it moves with a truly mapped out though from beginning to end – from the two samples and the beginning to the ending coda and choir singing, it is a dominating song.  The fourth track is called “Sneakers” and it is another number which for the most part make sense and almost gets everything together.  For the first three minutes it is twisting and turning between styles and time signatures perfectly, then the final coda and sudden ending brings it all to a stall and it is a shame as it has the promise of being the song of the EP, but it ends like Monty Python’s Holy Grail and you feel a little confused as to what has happened.

Next we are introduced to “Barabba Son’s Song” (spelling is how the band have spelt it).  This is what the song is about according to the press blurb – Everyone remembers Jesus but nobody talks ‘bout Barabba.  To be honest I have no idea what to say to that one, it is crazy and I tip my hat to the band for that piece of wisdom alone.  The song itself is actually one of the more crazy moments of the EP and also one of the most together moments as well.  Everything is pointing in the right direction musically (what that direction is, fuck knows – I love flying without a map as well), it shows that the band can indulge in their love of all genres within the mix of one song and at one point it goes all Weezer then to an out of tune Cat Stevens.  The sixth track is called “Quendo” which starts with a rumbling bass, strong keys, cymbals smashing, guitars fighting with the riffs coming off the guitarists wrists and heads towards a more subtle piece of zany prog rock that deals with the subject of a pub in a small town being the gateway to hell (sounds like my home town).  This is up there with “The Dirty Affair (Between Pelican and Bear)” in terms of music, it has a focus for the music and the lyrics are the more out-there moments of the song.  I honestly think that they have listened to so much Hevy Devy at the point that it has all been absorbed and laid bare on this song.  If you think “Infinity” period Devin Townsend, you will have this song pretty much mapped out in your head.  The penultimate track “Preludio” is a brief sub minute rest bite which sets us up for “Treesome”.  This is the longest song of the album and here is the press soundbite from the press release – The recurring nightmare of a young teenager.  Just a botany issue? – So as you can see, out there till the end.  It begins as the howling prog of the wounded man, but we already know that they are not going to keep it this way; so right to form it goes space rock, gentle off beat drum, shouty metal, pleading with the world for relief, strong string moments, stunning solo and all round psychotic ending.  I think it is one of the better songs as the moments are given time to breath which sort of set me up nicely for the conclusion of this review. 

So, how has it all shaped up?  I think that you cannot fault the band for their ambition and drive.  When they have there sound in synch, when the songs are given time and everything is going in the right direction, then they are a powerful act which will be able to beat anyone.  However, at points they overstretch themselves or in some cases their ideas just end/not given time to fore fill there potential.  It is a good release and shows promise, especially "Treesome" and "The Dirty Affair"; but sometimes it falls over itself. That said, The Dirty Affair (the song) is now on my iPod.

3.5 out of five - Decent, getting there

Top song - The Dirty Affair

You can purchase the download version of the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Kezia website here

You can stream the EP from Spotify here

For Deezer users, here is a link for you

The EP is not currently on Tidal

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