‘Hubardo’ is nothing if not a challenging and somewhat difficult piece of work. Spanning close to two hours in length and a breadth of avant-gard noisemongering which is tailor made to dissuade all but the most hardened of aficionados, the sheer density and black hearted individuality here presents a beast which discards the rulebook in favour of an almost impenetrable network of intricacies.
From the aimless drudge of opener ‘The Black Stone’, all ludicrous guttural jabbering and minimalist atmospherics, it’s apparent we’re in for a demanding affair. There are certainly high points; the blast beat fueled conclusion of ‘Crown-In-The-Muck’ fusing extreme metal aggression with some outlandish saxophone wig outs, and a punk spit morphing into a pallet of progressive expansion making ‘Thief’ a luminous treat. Yet, the fact remains that ‘Hubardo’ for the most part is just too contrary for its own good.
Tracks such as ‘Vision Adjustment To Another Wavelength’ are a deranged wreckage of off-kilter instrumentation and shambolically confused structure, perhaps masquerading as experimentation yet ultimately a fruitless chore to sit through. On the flip side, ‘The First Matter (Saturn In The Guise Of Sadness)’, with its barren melancholy, is a drifting example of directionless songwriting, the track playing out its nine minute duration without a hint of melodic spark or indeed any variation at all in its crawling saunter.
Kayo Dot have an undeniable willingness to stretch the boundaries somewhat, which is of course an always laudable attribute. It’s just unfortunate that the Massachusetts quintet seem unable to reign in their unrelenting abandon and deliver songs which engage on a level beyond the wide-eyed curiosities and understated sleepers here which all too soon wear thin.
Written by Tony Bliss