Kyoto Drive

Spotlights And Stars EP

Written by: TL on 11/03/2009 23:27:55

About two weeks ago I got an email from Kyoto Drive - A brand new emo-rock/pop-punk outfit still operating at little over grassroots level in the UK. The boys wanted me to review their debut EP "Spotlights And Stars" given that they had the impression that I was the most appropriate staffer for the job. At first I was honoured to oblige, now I'm just happy about it.

What we have here is a mere four tracks, so I'm going to keep this review short, but let me just say that it's been a long time since you've heard emo played this way. "Spotlights And Stars EP" has a bedroom-recording sound to it and an emotional charge of the kind you'll have to go back to the early days of Taking Back Sunday or New Found Glory to find the likeness off. These of course are fantastic points of reference, but given the highly infectious chorus of opener "Don't Walk Away From The Sun" it's hard not to go there. It's music that's perfect for the springtime and as such I suppose this review is perfectly timed for you to discover the EP in time for the first warm days of the year.

The highlight of the record is definitely in the second track "The Stealaway". When the backup vocals come in and start harmonizing with the lead ones, it just sounds like an incarnation of the spirit of youth, the way I think only Fastlane and New Found Glory have really managed to. On the grounds of this song alone, I know I'm going to keep my eyes open for upcoming releases from these guys.

As for the last half of the EP, I'm not as positive however. "The Man Vs. Everything I Love" sounds a bit darker than what I think is good for this band, and the change in mood feels a bit like when you first heard The Ataris' "Welcome The Night" album and also knew that while alright, it just wasn't what the band was the best at. The last track "You Had Me At Hello" is better, but it's still a bit large in its sound, and given the echoing production, it almost crumbles under its own weight. Fortunately it's got a refrain that's catchy enough to carry it through, and when it's (incredibly corny I'll have to say) movie sample comes in and reminds you of good old "Hit Or Miss" and its sample from The Outsiders, it's hard to maintain a negative perspective. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go listen to New Found Glory's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" right this second, it's missing in your musical upbringing!

Coming back on topic, what we have here is a good little handful of songs that reference enough seminal bands to make a blip on your radar, and even if the production is a tad messy, you might as well get on this bandwagon before they make a "Catalyst" and it starts getting crowded!

7

Download: If not just the whole thing, then definetely "The Stealaway"
For The Fans Of: Early New Found Glory, Fastlane, Early Taking Back Sunday
Listen: FULL RELEASE AVAILABLE @ myspace.com/kyotodrive

Release Date: 14.12.2008
Fearless

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