Hey Mom, Where's Timbuktu?

Written by: DR on 29/09/2011 20:09:29

Kovlo are a post-rock band, and that carries all manner of connotations. But in the very least you'd expect the songs to be long, with drawn out build-ups that refuse to be rushed as they reach for that moment of maximum emotional impact. And you'd be right, because Kovlo, in theory, are pretty much every post-rock band you've ever listened to. What we have here isn't anything that Mono, Mogwai or even This Will Destroy You haven't already done before, but honestly, after having to put up with many decent post-rock bands, it's affirming to know that there are still good ones out there - very good ones, in fact.

This lack of originality isn't just rendered merely forgiveable by Kovlo being highly talented, it becomes commendable when you realise, after listening, that these boys from Switzerland aren't doing it because post-rock has boomed in recent years, but to invoke the kind of thoughts and feelings they must get having grew up in the immense landscape of their home country and then realising just how much the world has to offer.

Now, these aren't all feelings of euphoria and awe. The very first thing Kovlo present you with is this speech in opener "Hebron", and it's not uncommon for bands to use samples from films for the sake of it, making them feel forced or awkward, but the repeated sound of Dennis Hopper ranting over the course of the first minute or so is actually superbly judged, enhancing the overall power of the song. The mood grows from the threatening opening into a more sinister atmosphere created by powerful guitar-chords, however, it climaxes with an expansive crescendo, like the first break of sunlight beaming down onto a ship that has just lasted through a storm, which confirms that Kovlo know their way-around post-rock song-structures.

The remaining songs, with the exception of three-minute "Qujing", follow a similar pattern but change in tone or mood to incite differing emotions within the listener. In this respect, the tracks "Rovaniemi" and "Angkor Wat" stand as highlights alongside "Hebron"; the former combines picturesque guitar patterns with a noise-laden, windswept background to allude to feelings of hope, while the latter is a post-metal behemoth of frustration and despair.

What "Hey Mom, Where's Timbuktu?" proves is that you don't necessarily need to have creativity in abundance if you are to make engaging and powerful music. Where other, lesser bands convey themselves as trying too hard to recreate the sound of another, bigger band, Kovlo act with a sincerity and a grace and are bestowed with a talent that results in music with genuine feeling, and as a listener we can only be grateful for that.


Download: Hebron, Rovaniemi, Angkor Wat
For The Fans of: Mono, This Will Destroy You, Mogwai
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 14.03.2011
On The Camper Records

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