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Kayo Dot

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Album Review

It isn't hard to understand why some people incorrectly assumed that Coyote would have a strong metal influence. Kayo Dot members Toby Driver and Terran Olson are ex-members of the late-'90s/early-'00s progressive metal band Maudlin of the Well (Jason Byron and Greg Massi, both ex-members of Kayo Dot, were also part of Maudlin), and Coyote was recorded for the metal-oriented Hydra Head Records. But Coyote is not a metal album in any way, shape, or form; crunching metal guitar is nowhere to be found here. What Kayo Dot do provide on this 2010 release is avant-garde rock — not avant-garde metal, but certainly avant-garde rock — and the material, for all its eccentricity and abstraction, is quite musical. That is not to say that Coyote is easy to absorb; this is complex, cerebral, left-of-center music that refuses to follow a simple verse/chorus/verse/chorus format. But in their own oddball way, Kayo Dot are surprisingly musical — not to mention coherent. The East Coasters draw on a variety of influences, ranging from avant-garde jazz to avant-garde classical to goth rock to Frank Zappa — and they never sound like they are simply throwing things against the wall aimlessly and hoping that they will stick. No, Kayo Dot obviously entered the studio with a game plan as well as with a sense of adventure, which is why Coyote sounds free-spirited but not haphazard. Kayo Dot know what they are doing, and it doesn't involve making sure the electric guitar (metal's most prominent instrument) takes center stage. Electric guitar isn't excluded on Coyote, but it is no less important to the album's creative success than horns or the violin; one could say that Coyote is guitar-friendly but never guitar-based. Kayo Dot's instincts serve them well on this intriguing effort; just don't call Coyote metal.


Formed: 1995 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Epic washes of crunchy guitar and sophisticated modern chamber music combine in the world of Kayo Dot. After the progressive metal-oriented Maudlin of the Well disbanded in late 2002, some of the group's members were lost, and a change of direction was needed. Toby Driver (vocals, guitar, electronics), Greg Massi (guitar, vocals), Nicholas Kyte (bass, vocals), Sam Gutterman (drums, vocals), and Terran Olson (keyboards, flute, clarinet, saxophone) carried on and formed Kayo Dot in early 2003. While...
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Coyote, Kayo Dot
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