Parisians, Lost In Kiev, return with this their third full length effort that see’s the band step off their well-trodden path of long form epic stanzas of alt/math rock mini operas and segue into shorter more direct songs. It feels counterintuitive when you think about, the longevity of bands usually sees bands start with short and snappy efforts before years of toil on the road in the bear pits of Europe, leads to longer, less straightforward (is that a whiff of self-indulgence) epic flights of fancy that extrapolate on past ideas and morph into 20-minute navel gazing noodling. If this all sounds negative, then allow me to prostate myself at the collective feet of Lost In Kiev and say that this is a fine album and although being a little unfamiliar with their back catalogue until a few days ago, ‘Persona’ benefits from getting to the point sooner rather than later unlike this review.
The post rock, alt-rock field is a crowded paddock, with many bands vying for a suck on the teat of public adoration and the accompanying warm gush of acceptance and the ‘Big Daddies’ in this field such as Pelican, Russian Circles, Mogwai, Old Man Gloom, Sumac and the UK’s own Bossk are tried and tested bands so you could argue that the world doesn’t necessarily need another Animals As Leaders inspired, sans vocals, musos wank into a sock. You could say that if Lost In Kiev didn’t bring something new and shiny to the party. Now we’re not talking about bringing a 3 pack of room temperature Fosters and a packet of peanuts to the party type offering, no this is more your £12 bottle of Merlot with accompanying wasabi peanuts. This is epic soundscapes of keyboard inflected, pulsating guitar rock that washes over you like an Alaskan waterfall. It meanders, pulses and flexes all the way being punctuated with an accompanied movie styled voiceover that lends a narrative to fill the hole where the vocals have never been. It’s clever, well played, epic in scope and the production fills your ears like warm honey.
This is certainly not the heaviest thing you’ll hear this year (nor even today to be honest) but it’s clever, dense and hard to decipher on first and second listen which I think is always a good thing (even if it feels like I have slightly contradicted myself in naming this as a more ‘direct’ collection of songs). I think the more you listen to ‘Persona’, the more you’ll come to appreciate the layers upon layers of ‘stuff’ that’s going on. It feels modern and fresh and whilst at the lighter end of anything mentioned by the bands referenced earlier in this review, they are certainly, from a quality perspective, able to hold their own in what is a competitive and crowded genre.
(7.5/10 Nick Griffiths)