Monday, 30 March 2009

Review - Kyoto Drive - Spotlights and Stars

Kyoto Drive - Spotlights and Stars

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8 out of 10

Kyoto Drive has crafted an EP that is constantly reminding me of other bands, without allowing me to ever nail my flag to a mast before the song changes and another influence is recognised. If I had to try and describe this EP (which I do as I am supposed to be reviewing it) I would say that it is the child that resulted from the Early November and Taking Back Sunday having a one-night stand, putting the baby up for adoption and it being raised by Matchbook Romance and Spitalfield.

Over the space of the four tracks on the EP these are just some of the bands that I am reminded of. This sounds like high-praise and, honestly, it is. This EP has grown on me over the last few days I have been listening to it. It's raw and unpolished, the closing track tries a little too hard to be 'epic', and there are moments when the instrumentation is not as tight as it should be, but the potential is there.

The EP opener Don't Turn Your Back on the Sun does the perfect job of setting the EP up for its short life-span. It places the band firmly in the "too-heavy to be pop-punk, but not heavy enough to be 'hardcore'" camp. There is thankfully no screaming here, even when it seems like there could be, Kyoto Drive seem to prefer gang vocals to shout-y one, something that only furthers their appeal.

I have fallen for this EP in quite a big way. The band is obviously ambitious - they are doing the opposite of what is popular right now. The trend says make your songs 3 minutes or less so they put everything around the 4 minute mark. The trend says song structure should be intro, verse, chorus, break-down, repeat, so Kyoto Drive try to do something a bit different. It is refreshing to hear. It is easy when doing reviews to simply say, "this album shows potential" and that "this is a band to look out for", but I feel this EP deserves more than that. This EP is not perfect, but I believe this band is doing something that needs to be supported. They are giving this EP away for free on their MySpace page, so what excuse do you have not to give it a listen? And if you like it, which I think you will, look out for their debut album coming out later this year and buy it.


1. Don't Turn Your Back on the Sun
2. The Stealaway
3. The Man vs. Everything I Love
4. You Had me at Hello

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