Brothers Mik and Rich Hanscomb have quietly been going about their business for four albumsnow; taking in a cornucopia of styles (prog rock, folk, Krautrock, dreampop) en route and producing the aural equivalent of an eternal British summer. For this, their fourth album, they enlisted the assistance of the Brighton-based Willkommen Collective – a community of like-minded artists and musicians – and the results are now geared towards multi-layered folk music.
‘Koyo’ is a Japanese term meaning gentle sunlight and it’s an entirely appropriate definition for this beautifully arranged record. After the flute-heavy opener ‘Firth’, ‘Home’ begins with the rumbling thunder of drums and grungy guitars. ‘Friends (Part 2)’ echoes the dreamlike textures of The High Llamas and is blessed by sweet folk harmonies; scaling even greater heights on the simply heavenly ‘Pieces In The Sky’.
Those prog credentials are further enhanced by ‘Dr. Rendezvous’; a fascinating instrumental which recalls The Beach Boys, Talk Talk and Tortoise within the same track. On a less consistent second half, they blot their copybook somewhat with noisy closer ‘Tones X’ revealing their Krautrock roots whilst, at the other end of the scale, ‘On The Shore’ is a bit too pure folk to truly stand out. However, this is quibbling amongst the otherwise luxurious material.
As with previous Junkboy releases, the charms of ‘Koyo’ are not immediately apparent. What initially appear to be easy listening sketches, however, soon grow in stature and once you’re hooked, it’s hard to be drawn away from their peculiar and wonderful fantasy world.
The Beach Boys, Talk Talk