Friday, 8 June 2012

Review: Kyuss/Wool Split

That Authentic Desert Sound

While I have been a Kyuss fan for quite some time, this is my first introduction to Wool. I have to say I'm impressed. Splits often fail because one band outshines the other or the style of the bands just don't mesh. Not the case here. While Kyuss's song is a bit better, Wool's is still great. Their styles go perfectly together and the release flows smoothly. Both tracks are (mostly) laid back bluesy songs with spacey atmospheres. 

It really is a shame that Kyuss didn't stick it out for a fifth album. With songs like "Shine!" and their incredible cover of Black Sabbath's "Into The Void" (which can be found on their split with Queens of the Stone Age), both released after their final album, it is apparent that their spark was still burning bright. Featuring a creepy keyboard melody, "Shine!" has quite the atmosphere. The keyboard and guitar have real chemistry, with the guitar playing along with the melody but frequently providing variations. While most of the song isn't too aggressive, things really take off with the chorus. A guitar riff supports a raspy scream, which repeats the title of the track. Thats right - harsh vocals in a Kyuss song! While the vocals aren't all that overpowering, they are well executed and give "Shine!" some real edge. 

Although occasionally breaking into raunchy dirty blues sections, Wool's "Short Term Memory Loss" is for the most part quite subtle. Wool are able to achieve a completely authentic sound, with their spacey blues rock sounding like it could have easily been recorded in the 70s. The bass plays an extremely important role, often providing the rhythm as the guitar plays sparse notes meant to create atmosphere. Successfully being able to fluctuate between loud and soft, Wool are masters of their domaine. With both more relaxed and more edgy vocals, Wool's song does not suffer from lack of diversity. They are able to combine many different elements to create a cohesive whole.

To create a truly successful split, not only do both bands have to play good songs, but the bands have to work together. Kyuss and Wool could not be a better fit. Both songs are mostly spacey but feature heavier sections. Both bands are obviously influenced by blues, psychedelia and rock'n'roll. Hell, both songs have an ambient outro. While sharing mutual qualities, these songs by no means sound that much like each other. They both share a similar vibe but they both have their own unique touch. If you want to hear songs that possess that authentic desert sound , this is the place to turn. 


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