Published Oct 14, 2014Even for Kayo Dot, a band whose unpredictability is one of the most reliable things about them, Coffins On Io is a truly remarkable left turn. Casting aside the sludge metal freakout of last year's double album, Hubardo, bandleader Toby Driver has led his ever-evolving crew into an atmospheric world of goth-rock synths and opium-laced rhythms. Though the new sound is intriguing at first — especially the upbeat new-wave vibes of "Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22" — it's all a bit underwhelming.
Not even Driver's penchant for genre-defying arrangements works here: When the proggy riffs start creeping back in (see the Rush-style grooves in the second half of "Library Subterranean") or when song structure veers towards chaotic jazz-metal ("The Assassination of Adam"), the stylistic clashes are more of a distraction from the album's arc. The meditative pulse and haunting saxophones of ten-minute closer "Spirit Photography," however, makes for a satisfying conclusion to an album. The upside is that if anyone needs to soundtrack a remake of Lost Boys, Coffins On Io has some readymade tunes for teenage vampire melodramas. (The Flenser)