Art school personified, Kyoto Kyoto are patient with their fierce experiments.
Words: Varun Govil | Photo: Gosia Socha
Looking across the venues of London, a few overriding emotions prevail and few calm the soul. Anger, anxiety, and disquiet seem to bubble up time and time again as the sounds of post-punk, noise-rock, and all things experimental take a hold of the underground. In some ways, one might hope that as new bands emerge they’ll bring a youthful hope alongside them but without fail, a tenseness takes centre stage. Yet, when one listens to groups as fresh as South London three-piece Kyoto Kyoto, their brand of art-rock feels impressively cathartic rather than hopelessly oppressive.
As the gates open on the group’s latest single, Dart Oporto 56, shaking guitars and dancing drums pave the way for a patient intimacy. While the opening seconds roar with a youthful temper, what follows is a distressed quiet. As the harmonious layers of bass move as if guiding a meditation, the German tongue that Kyoto Kyoto delivers their lyrics in garners a sense of familiarity despite its inherent foreignness. Keeping the dynamics low, the London three-piece channel the anxiety that the city seems to be pumping into its bands as the opening minutes bring to mind bands like Black Midi and Black Country, New Road.
Clearly, though, there is an underlying heat to the moves of Kyoto Kyoto as when given the chance to erupt, the three-piece burn bright. Building into cacophonous heights of noise-rock, the band rise to a fever pitch. With each of the three players in the band letting loose on their individual instruments, they climb to an intensity that rewards the patience of their initial calm. While they tow the line between sincere experimentation and art-school pretentiousness, the range of emotions on offer make a compelling case for the nascent trio.