K Sera

Collisions And Near Misses

Written by: TL on 19/04/2013 17:56:42

You know how sometimes, over a long stretch of keeping your eye on the music scene, one previously connotation-less bandname will eventually pop-up enough times for you to get the idea that maybe you should check them out some time? To me, Sacramento quartet K Sera has been that kind of band, so when they dropped their debut LP "Collisions & Near Misses" earlier this year I made a mental note to get to listening to it, and now that I have, it keeps bringing me back to this conversation I had a guitarist friend of mine last year, over Muse's "Madness" single and whether there was any point in any band trying to imitate Queen.

So yeah, it's hard not to think of Queen and Muse with the way K Sera open "Collisions & Near Misses" with theatrical piano chords and dramatic vocal work, building up to a crescendo that sees wailing guitars come in Brian May-style. It feels more like an overture than a song proper though, leading into "Near Misses" which sees a buzzing riff and a prominent bass echo around the soundscape in Muse-ish space-rock fashion, before the songs opens up to a soaring clean chorus that makes me think of Keane.

What soon strikes me as interesting about K Sera, is how the guitars on "Collisions & Near Misses" take a role early and often, as more of a tool to inject power into the music when needed, than a leading melody provider. Instead the hyper-active bass patterns get unusual amounts of spotlight underneath the melodies which come mainly from the voice of guitarist/singer Mike Caswell and from the keys of pianist David Christensen, whose classical touch soon becomes a strong identifier in the album's highly characteristic space-piano-prog. You could say the drums, bass and guitar map out a dark and exotic landscape while the piano and vocals sparkle light stars in the night sky above it all.

"Collisions And Near Misses" definitely showcase a fascinating and highly recognisable sound then, yet somehow I've kept feeling like any claim to greatness on its behalf are somewhat hindered. You see. despite skillful varieties in songwriting, it soon feels like the album continually exhibits the same level of 'dramatic intensity', or like the band is putting on an exhibition for someone 'behind' the listener. The likely reason is that K Sera seem so caught up in detailing their musical parallel world, that they've penned few enough passages of the sort that would grab you and actually open you up to the band's more uncompromising intricacies.

Vague criticism like that aside, I still think however, that this is a pretty good album. A decent number of the songs, like "Ambien", "Carry" and "True Enough To Be Interesting", prove rather memorable on returning listens, and I think it beyond doubt that the record as a whole will reveal many fascinating details to anyone who's fan (or intrigued) enough to keep it spinning more times than I have by now. Yet at the same time, I must concede that for me personally, it's the kind of record I've been repeating many times waiting for it to get really good, yet it still hasn't really taken me there.


Download: Near Misses, St. Peter (Better Than Yours), Carry, Ambien
For The Fans Of: Muse, Queen, Keane, Tides Of Man
Listen: facebook.com/kseratheband

Release Date 26.02.2013
Burning House

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