Kyshera - Pardigm

Bill Cummings 09/08/2010

Rating: 3/5

Paradigm: Theorists Saussaure's classification of similarities. The Russian Doll figures (on the cover above) representing capitalism, terrorism and organised religion.

Kyshera's Paradigm: An album by South Wales alt rock three piece Kyshera's second album is the sound of 70s politico-scifi-prog colliding with planetary force with the muscular alt rock of early Muse. Paradigm is the stripped back sound of Mars Volta proggy-rhythms colliding with the anguished grit of Soundgraden's Chris Cornell. Paradigm is a concept album of sorts full of conspiracies and railing against the three evils represented by those over arching figures it's 'spawned from an intense distain for faux corporate society felt keenly by the band's mastermind and front man James Kennedy.' So while you have to applaud the message, Paradigm is also frustrating somewhat of a curat's egg, showcasing moments of bewildering ambition but lumbered by generic rock sounds that sometimes sadly claw it back into the category of standard rock.

On the progressive side, there's opener 'If' an intriguing piece of undulating rock, built upon looping waves of spiralling guitar and harpsichord bleeps, with Kennedy's pleading repeated, refrains 'Who would you save first?!' that sets the scene of a increasingly desperate apocalyptic world. 'Paradigm' takes the noise levels up a notch stinging riffage, cascading rhythms that remind one of RATM and railing political vocals aren't enough to really step this beast forward. The two parts of 'Frequency' show a level of experimentation at work; the organ sounds of part one, are matched by the violin stabs and playful instrumentation of part two. Sadly 'Willing Prey' falls victim to a kind of standard alt rock sound that sounds a bit dated, guitar solo n all. While 'Fiction' is delivered at such a breakneck speed that its lordable attacks on plastic modern culture where despicable idiots like Jordan are famous for being famous, is somewhat lost amongst the white noise and Kennedy's grunge aping strained vocal chords.

But there are moments when both sides of this coin do merge expertly 'Lust' is one such example building expertly from bitter media conspiratorial theories, in the verses to shouty cathartic aggression in the chorus 'Trust! In the Lust! Dealers!Chose in your demise!' it's more relentlessness than Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator in the original film. Meanwhile album center piece 'Kill the messenger''s twisting turning time signatures and filthy riffage is matched by Kennedy's swaggering angry vocals that rail against a media that's brainwashing its audience, its bonkers percussive elements build and build until the machine gets stuck on repeat and a dancing four bar gameboy motif breaks out, it's a rare moment of humour amongst the seriousness. When the smoke of gunfire clears 'A Moment's silence is a welcome ballad in amongst the frenetic rhythms and caustic metallic power chords; taking things down a notch a two clearly suits Kennedy's tone, when he's not straining for the notes he is often at his best.

Sadly these moments of brilliance are again matched by the generic sound of a track like 'Element' that's initially welcoming in its verses of lonely pianos and vocals gives way to a pretty standard almost AOR chorus, that wouldn't have sounded out of place on American FM radio twenty years ago. Which is the annoyance at the heart of this album, because Kyshera and co show flashes of brilliance, and execute a believable concept throughout this long player: it's the soundtrack to hundreds of civilians running for cover of a oppressed regime and its messages are often prescient of our times no more so than final track 'Coalition' that pointedly lyrics ('We the majority/ Are the Authority/In Nature's democracy') mirror the events that brought the Liberal and Conservative parties together in a rush for power and compromise, but at what cost?

So Kyshera's new album is successful in parts but it's too often its caged and framed by a love of alt rock and metal genres that they are still learning to tame, allowing their progressive side to truly take centre stage. So in that sense Pardigm is more of a Paradox than anything else.