CD Review

Kooper Kain – “Turning Cities to Salt”

By Marcus Pan

Turning Cities to SaltWhile impressive at the outset, the problem I have with Kooper Kain is that not everything blends well together. The wall of sound style they produce can get so overburdened with sounds, not all meshed together, that I find myself losing interest fairly quickly. The vocals are off on one track, the percussion another and the solo-guitar occasionally used will go off in a third direction. Even the two final bonus dark ambient tracks, Goodnight and The Cowboy Vampire, while minimal and doesn't suffer from the too-big-too-much syndrome, but remains strangely unremembered. While I can't quite say they are all playing the "wrong thing," the strong musical differences tend to get wishy washy instead of remain tight.

The production of the CD is very high however and everything is discernible. Just not discernible...together. Very well produced, Kooper Kain's Turning Cities to Salt is a long one (eighteen tracks). I would correlate their sound to a darker Dream Disciples(1) or Tri State Killing Spree(2).

The opening percussion of Ice Stars is strong and moving, but the incoming vocals add an echoey effect that attempts to be mysterious but somehow ends up wishy-washy. The song as a whole is still carried well by the strong percussion effects and if not for the clash of washed out vocals against strong percussion had the chace to be a top tier old skool goth rock tune. Sentence Now shows Kooper's well done attempt to mimick the vocal style of David Bowie. Quite well done if you like that sort of thing, which I do in most instances.

As the CD progresses I'm trying to decide what to write about further tracks on Turning Cities to Salt, but somehow Kooper Kain has found a way to have songs that are discernibly different from each other, but without becoming noticeable. It's hard to explain...I know full well I'm listening to Crowded right now, but I'm so consciously bored I don't know what to detail about it. Everything fuses together into a mish mash of uninteresting goth tunes. Easily one of the hardest reviews I've written because with 18 tracks of material none of them remain in my memory at all.

All That's Needed is one of the most blatant examples of how things don't come together here. Kain's vocal score (and yowling) tends to stray far from the easy 4/4 of the instrumental arrangement. Maybe that's another reason for the forgettable nature of Turning Cities to Salt – the unchanging rhythms and instrumentals through most tracks. 80 Years of Dirt, one of the better tracks on Turning Cities, has a strong electro-laced bass and percussion movement (the drumming itself doesn't really do much beyond simplistic rhythms throughout the album, but the bass adds much to it here) that once again is grunged down by the vocal score as if the two were written exclusively apart.

Again interest is perked with Flicker, Flicker & Out's electronic intro, but we all know what happens by now as the singing begins to have not much to do with the rest of the track save somewhat-managed chord changes. You'll always find your ears perking up with just about all of the introductions to the work here, but it always fades. The funky electronics of Tonal for example will bubble up your senses, then it, too, shall pass. Turning Cities to Salt will continue on this way for the next eight tracks, then offer us the two aforementioned dark ambient pieces. After all this, you'll forget about it completely as it fades from your mind like a lucid dream under anesthesia.

Contact Information:
Kooper Kain
Post: #8-3563 Oak St., Vancouver B.C., Canada, v6h 2m1
(1) The Dream Disciples’ Asphyxia was reviewed in Legends #116.
(2) 3SkS’ Happy Death Heaven was reviewed in Legends #96.

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