Kyte - Kyte

Angus Reid 25/01/2008

Rating: 3/5

Tricky thing to get right, a debut album. You want something that really announces you to the world, and shows what you can do. At the same time, you don't want to make something that's instant yet disposable that sees you score a minor hit before vanishing altogether. You also want to show that you've got potential to develop and actually make people anticipate the follow up. Last year saw a couple of misfiring debut albums from hotly tipped bands, most notably iLiKETRAiNS, so it's with a fair amount of trepidation that I approach Kyte's debut, 'Kyte', given that although great at points, they can wear thin pretty quickly.

Opening track 'Planet' pretty much sets out the stall for the whole album, starting gently with some lovely plucked arpeggios and synth swells, before building with those signature semi-whispered vocals. As an introduction it's great, with the delay effects on the vocals gradually building a throbbing, pulsing wall of sound, but that's half the problem, it's a great introduction yes, but it goes on for a whopping 7:13 without ever hitting full stride.

This is frustratingly symptomatic of the album as a whole, in particular the shortest track 'Home', a mere 2:40 snippet of whirring and clicking electronic noodling that wants to sink comfortably into an Efterklang style epic, but instead decides to finish just as it's got going. It's not hard to see the potential for the ideas on offer, but they resolutely fail to go anywhere or develop into anything interesting.

Final track 'These Tales of Our Stay' probably delivers most on the promise shown by this album, taking over a minute and a half to fade in with a slow, fizzing drone, it plays the same trick as the rest of this album, making the listener want to know where this is going. On this one occasion however, it's a perfectly paced build to something wonderfully epic, and perhaps the point where Kyte really start to let go a little bit and really start to soar. A nicely placed dip in dynamics leads back into the rhythmic pounding of the drums and the crescendo you've been waiting the entire length of the album for very nearly materialises. Instead, the song seems to wimp out at the last minute and the expected avalanche of sound doesn't quite happen. As we progress through to the fade out, however, the glockenspiel hangs in the mix with a certain melodic poignancy that belies this band's youth.

So, overall it's not a fantastic debut, despite whatever the rest of the press will undoubtedly say, but importantly it shows the promise of what further Kyte albums may bring as they mature their sound and grow into a fully developed musical force. Don't approach this album expecting fulfilment just yet, just an exciting promise of what might be in a few years time, assuming the band are given the time to develop. After all, 'Pablo Honey' was quite a long way from being a great album, but it showed the future potential of Radiohead to be something special. With any luck, Kyte will one day do the same.