Zorch Radio Review: Kryptos EP
The debut EP from Kryptos is something completely different to psychobilly, scratching an itch that’s been nagging you for who knows how long. With an undeniably unique sound that is as smooth as it is mental, this almost-perfect recording sets your speakers on fire.
I first heard these guys off the California Psychobilly compilation from Rockin’ Psycho Records, where they closed off the comp with a titanic six minute long track called “Between Here and There” (Lo-fi mono sample in Episode 74). This one stood out on the comp, primarily due to its length combined with its constant fresh and evolving sound. In a genre that’s rooted in punk and rockabilly, most songs feature a predictable formula and rarely exceed 3 min. Kryptos break this mold with some very out of the box influences that my tiny brain can’t even begin to identify.
There’s more to this band than the long songs, though, it’s primarily how different everything sounds. Their bassist is simultaneously clean and frantic with almost none of that slap-knocking sound (another surprisingly rare element in psychobilly). This was heavily exploited with some of the smoothest reverb’d guitars, creating a BIG, smooth and suave musical anomaly. It might just be because of how over-the-board this bass guy goes, but it also stands out even more when the second guitar gets in the mix. Even if you only heard their song “Hypocrisy” once, you’ll know that these guys are absolute creative geniuses (Low-fidelity monaural version heard in Episode 81).
While there’s the balls-mental psychobilly, the crystal-clean product, the unique edge and original style, this EP isn’t without its flaws. According to Kryptos’ band profile, they’re not just a psychobilly band. They categorize themselves as a “Psychobilly/Experimental/Progressive” band, and the progressive experiments are obvious in tracks four and five. If you’re a person who put on this EP for hearing some of THEE wildest rock and roll, then these are going to blindside you like they did me. These two tracks are slower and long-winded, creating a confusing vibe that could only be pulled off if it were trashy. Instead they sound too artistic, akin to what I imagine as Morissey is like. It’s a huge risk for a band to split their soon-to-be-branded sound on a debut release, especially within the niche genre of psychobilly. But are those two tracks bad? I honestly don’t know if it’s BAD music, I just know I skip them.
Even with the two weird tracks, this EP is still going to blast out your speakers and earbuds. The good stuff is absolutely WILD, while adding enough flair to stand out in a sometimes formulaic genre. Hopefully, Kryptos keep it wild with future releases. Get your hi-fidelity, stereophonic copy at Rockin Psycho Records. And to all you vinyl hounds, I feel your pain. While it’s definitely worth the few odd dollars, this is EP is for digital download only.
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