Review: Kobol – Centipede

Their story began in Mexico but post-rock duo Kobol now call Los Angeles their home. Thus far they have released three albums. The first, 2005’s ‘Broken Ebony’, set the scene with moody jazz, then came the more fully realised ‘Extempore’ which added colour and variety thanks to some remixes and guest vocalists. However, until now, they had yet to prove themselves over the course of an album’s worth of original material. ‘Centipede’ is the perfect way to address that issue.

Kobol Album Cover

The album settles into a groove very quickly. There may be mournful trumpets welcoming ‘Elephant’ but the beats are positively bouncing with life. It’s an excellent start, abundant with rhythm and melody. ‘Abyssal Drive’ and the title track evoke intelligent spy thrillers via their inventive rhythms, evoking post-rock behemoths Tortoise in the process. ‘Atlantico’ begins as a melancholic jazzy piece but then steps up the pace with some frantic yet controlled percussion to make up a virtually flawless first half to the record. Towards the end of the album, Kobol head off on a more electronic tangent but whilst ‘Leather Cloud’ is a rather middling affair, ‘Neotoma Syndrome’ provides a modernised version of Kraftwerk’s nocturnal longing and ‘Moonseed’ brings ‘Centipede’ to a muscular conclusion.

‘Centipede’ is a challenging record in a good way, complete with a fine selection of melodic twists and turns and propulsive rhythms.. It is certainly not one of those jazz-inflected albums which languishes in the background but one which is more likely to leap out and punch you squarely in the face. So post-rock and word play fans alike will be relieved to learn that this particular ‘Centipede’ has plenty of legs.

Web Sites:
Kobol Official Site
Bandcamp Stream of ‘Centipede’

Further Listening:
Tortoise, Mice Parade

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