The alt-90s are definitively alive in the latest EP from the multifacetedly talented artist and songwriter KAIS. From his studio in Cyprus, the award-winning and BBC-favourite artist delivered three melodic singles that toe the line between artful ingenuity and meditative transcendence.
The opening single, Horizon, carries reminiscences of BETA BAND, but via a 25-year wormhole with its languid guitar licks, groovy trip-hoppy drums and blissful boyband-style vocals.
Track two, Turning to Gold, is enough to throw you right back to the not-too-distant nostalgia of Doves’ There Goes the Fear with its lush, laid-back, bluesy laments and heartbreaking swoonsome melodies.
The final and eponymous track, Hot Air Balloon, boasts a more dynamic, choppy funk, which echoes The Bends era Radiohead via Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ more melodic syncopations.
Putting the context behind his singles, KAIS said
“Horizon is a Citizen Cope / David Gilmor-esque inspired ode to tapping into one’s inherent free spirit, which commonly unearths in the lovers’ bond. It paints an image of a man that once swam with his beloved in the magic of a summer night’s sea and attempts to reconnect with the ubiquitous “baby how’s your day?”
Turning to Gold is a hymn of lovers as they traverse life’s highs and lows. It reaches into metaphysical spheres while weighing on the fact that bliss cannot be found when one is merely dreaming.
Hot Air Balloon is a metaphor for pregnancy. As the process unfolds, whereby a spirit permeates and rises into the boundless world, a Hot Air Balloon rises into the ether (where our thoughts drift and amalgamate).”
If any contemporary can unwrite all the false premises of capitalist romanticism and affirm that the beauty of love and life lies in the simplest of moments, it is KAIS. He knows just how to bring his epiphanous concepts to life so that the sonic end result is just as mind-bending as his laureate-like revelations.
The Hot Air Balloon EP is now available to stream on Spotify, Bandcamp and YouTube.
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Review by Amelia Vandergast