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Kazyak’s latest set of studio recordings, titled Odyssey

Kazyak’s latest set of studio recordings, titled Odyssey, consists of songs like the space rocker “Camouflage” and the synthetic shoegazer “Zombie Dream.” It emits colorful guitar tones in “Smoke Jumper” and abstract groove-driven swagger in “Rocket.” We find an unspoken darkness amidst the foggy melodies of “Be the Sun” and succumb to the pressurized harmony of “Contravertical” whether we resist it or not. The band gives us everything that they’ve got in these tracks, whether it be pulsating rhythm ala “Paper Bird” or blushing string mysticisms like those of “Discover,” and though Odyssey doesn’t necessarily change the narrative for this group, it definitely demonstrates just how much they’ve grown since the release of their debut LP. Kazyak give up a unique take on contemporary psychedelia in this album, and regardless of whether or not you’ve heard their amazing music before, this is a record that belongs on your stereo this summer just the same. It’s emotional, introspective, and thoroughly ripping even in its most peaceful of ballads.

The second half of Odyssey feels a little more off the cuff than the first does, and I think that the album was designed as to allow us the opportunity to see just how wide a range of talents this band actually possesses. The discord of “Contravertical,” “Be the Sun” and “Camouflage” finds an equilibrium within the melodies of “Zombie Dream,” “Smoke Jumper” and “Rocket,” and although there are some really loud and proud climaxes laced throughout the tracklist, they’re never so aggressive that we feel smothered by the sonic weight of the music.

American rock, both mainstream and independent, has been steadily getting more and more surreal as the 2010s have gone on, and now that we’re staring down at the next chapter in the history of this storied genre, it should come as no surprise to anyone with an ear for good music that a band like Kazyak is making an LP like this one. Here, they rebel against the very nature of scene politics and archaic genre parameters that no longer suit the sound that they’re trying to produce; Odyssey is a shedding of skin, and what it exposes to us is a group that isn’t redefining their own identity as much as they are the personality of their style.

If there’s one album that audiophiles need to get their hands on this year, it’s Kazyak’s Odyssey, which is – in my opinion – the most complete record that this band has offered their fans so far. The indie music media has fallen in love with this five-piece, and it doesn’t take much more than a casual examination of their new LP to learn precisely why. They’re making the sort of uncorrupted, shamelessly experimental rock that we need right now more than ever before, and whether their fan base extends to the mainstream market in the wake of this release or not, I think it’s safe to say that their reputation as one of the best groups actively recording today has been solidified beyond debate thanks to the caliber of content we hear on Odyssey.

Mindy McCall

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