ALBUM REVIEW: Kyros – Celexa Dreams

Release Date: June 19th 2020
Label: White Star Records


What makes Kyros so intriguing is their unabashed approach to what can most succinctly be described as “prog-pop”. There’s never been a sense of a band desiring to fit in amongst peers. You get the impression, rather, that the objective is to subvert and surprise, in dense fashion.

The initial vision of one, Adam Warne, the London based group have continually expanded, both sonically and within their own ranks. On their third full-length (second under the Kyros moniker), ‘Celexa Dreams’, there’s a new found sense of confidence and near swagger imbued into what can easily be considered both their most approachable and layered material to date.

While a strong eighties influence has always been present, never has it felt this prevalent or assured. With obvious nods to everything from Genesis, New Order, Rush, Yes, and even a sprinkling of Talk Talk, this is about as new wave as a prog album can get in 2020.

Thumping percussion, rippling bass lines that pop with absurdity, glowing synths pushed right to the forefront of the mix; there’s even a sax solo so compressed that it’s difficult to ascertain whether it’s brass or synthesised. Now, these all sound like tried and tested tropes of a bygone era, and they are. However, what’s truly impressive is the ability of Warne and his companions to utilise what could easily be regarded as audible novelties, to craft deceivingly technical dynamic anthems, complete with ludicrously catchy hooks and vibrant vocal melodies. It all culminates in something both retro and fresh.

There’s still some strong prog ties hidden beneath the newly increased shades of neon, with a rare flash of possible menace hidden within the instrumentation. These moments are so subtle and nuanced, and are easier to unpack with repeat listens which the album greatly rewards.

Things can get a tad self-indulgent at times, like the 14-minute epic ‘In Vantablack’, which warps the pace, feeling at odds with the more condensed, direct cuts which are what keep the momentum pulsing throughout. Apart from that, and the 10-minute threquel that is their continuing ‘Technology Killed The Kids’ saga, the record revolves swiftly around some of the most playful and colourful genre bastardisation you’re bound to discover this year. A shiny, new wave power-prog beacon of hope in an often over-saturated sea.