Kyoto Drive

The Approach EP

Written by: TL on 29/10/2012 14:24:21

In their fourth year of existence Birmingham-quartet Kyoto Drive have by now established a relative firm position in the British underground, with quite a few tours under their belts on which they have supported a variety of bands more famous than their own (Mae, Hit The Lights, The Starting Line, Young Guns etc). Two years ago they tried to make a leap into the big leagues themselves with their debut LP "This Is All We Ever Wanted" which unfortunately felt like it had been made a little too soon. The band fell short of a proper breakthrough then, and it is no surprise then to see them back in the EP format with this year's "The Approach".

"The Approach" opens with the rather lofty, piano-anchored intro "Receive This Little Breath" which gives the listener a clue of the big, bright songs that are to comes, and opener proper "Holiday" sets the standard with its lofty melody, poppy vocal delivery and soaring guitar lines. The big sound does not come with big drama however, as the mood is kept wide-eyed and uplifting through both "Holiday" and the following - slightly catchier - "So Much Alive". The same approach is consistently re-worked throughout the EP and with one song more poppy and airy than the next, comparisons are probably best drawn to bands like Mae, Cartel or The Rocket Summer.

While Kyoto Drive have a better, bigger sounding recording than before however, and while their songwriting is relatively focused, they still can't quite pull off the songs that would make me think a breakthrough would be imminent for them. This time the main problems are that the songs sound too much alike, and none of them ever feel like anything is at stake. It feels like Kyoto Drive have gone to such lengths to secure a neat, radio-ready sound that the content has receded to a lower level of priority and that the emotion in the vocals almost sound a bit forced at times.

"Breathe" and "Chapters" have positive moments, but they are brief, as KD simply spend most of "The Approach" sounding like a band that really, really want to write the biggest kinds of songs, but just flat out aren't consistently able to do it. The quality of the sound and the experienced handling of traditional songstructures might fool you on a superficial listen, into thinking that here's the next band to step up the level of those that Kyoto Drive have toured with, but upon closer inspection, the sad fact is that the songs on "The Approach" just really are not memorable enough and that Kyoto Drive may very well sound like they're trying a little too hard.


Download: So Much Alive, Breathe, Chapters
For The Fans Of: The Rocket Summer, Mayday Parade, Cartel, Mae

Release Date 28.05.2012
I Am Mighty Records

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