Skye Klad has always been known for working without a net, and this latest effort is no exception. After nearly eight years pushing the envelope of the darkest psychedelic/occultic noise rock imaginable, the group has once again confounded the faithful by returning from the cocoon of a long hiatus with a new album stemming from an approach most unexpected by anyone who has followed them in the past, and sure to intrigue and entice new listeners as well.
Their fascination with the ancient and the esoteric has not waned in the slightest, but the approach and instrumentation is utterly different from past efforts, while maintaining their adventurous and singular vision. Where past efforts pushed listeners through the sonic vortex and past the threshold of pain via dense, fuzzy, post-apocalyptic metallic sheen and pulsing, flowing rhythm, “Skye Klad Plays the Musick of Cupid’s Orkustra Asleep in the Magick Powerhouse of Oz” seeks to reach the same end by much more meditative and organic means. Acoustic instrumentation is at the fore, augmented by field recordings, french horn, tribal percussion and a mantric sensibility. There are guitars and basses of course, but there are also more exotic stringed instruments such as saz and the custom, sitar-like “witchfynder” as well as flutes and a variety of unsettling found sound and echo effects. Not willing to completely eschew the loves of the past, there is still the occasional transcendent fuzz guitar, but in a much subtler fashion. Group leader Jason Kesselring’s vocal style and lyrical sensibility have matured considerably since past efforts, and the lyrical motifs that he explores will certainly appeal to the shuttered bibliophiles among us; those who know the risks of their interest and forge ahead despite the consequences of their actions.
Musically, Skye Klad have always shown a knack for wearing their influences on their sleeves while amalgamating them successfully into a unique and modern aesthetic. Listeners to this latest effort will detect the influence of Bert Jansch and the ghosts of Davey Graham and Robbie Basho, as well as more modern influences such as early Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen, AntiGroup and others. In short, another adventurous album by this unique group, delivering the unexpected once again. Welcome to the new dawn.