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KIT - Broken Voyage

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Artist: KIT

Album: Broken Voyage

Label: Upset the Rhythm

Review date: Oct. 30, 2007

When I listen to KIT's Broken Voyage, I keep thinking they're from Japan. Which isn't the case: it says "Bay Area" prominently on the jacket. There's plenty of American bands that have taken tips from the candy-noise pioneers on the other side of the Pacific, juxtaposing the discordant and sugary. But usually, the American music still sounds juxtaposed, as if assembled from various jigsaw puzzles with no real desire to make the pieces really fit. Maybe it involves being raised in a pop culture where koala-eyed manga characters decapitate each other, but Japanese musicians have been more adept at mixing honey and violence together. It comes off not as a contrast, but mutually beneficial moods. KIT have got that, and they're good at it.

"Petty Tiger Tells" starts with a lurching Black Sabbath non-beat and picks up tempo with chunka-chunka riff, but the tone isn't metal at all. It's thin and trebley and topped with girlish singing. It's one of the tracks that has some conventional structure to grab, a doll first amputated, then stitched back together in battered but recognizable form. In contrast, most of Voyage captures the toys as they're bouncing down the stairs, plastic cracking, electronic soundboxes triggering, just before the crash.

It goes by quick. The songs stick to the 90-second mark and still find time to change direction a few times. What starts as dense strumming might sprout a circus organ, or internal organs, or flake apart into sparse and ominous creaking. But nothing in the world of KIT stands still. As devilish as it gets, they're smiling devils. Next time, they deserve more than monochrome packaging. The sounds here make your eyes hurt.

By Ben Donnelly

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