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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Kashmir -- Zitilites

 photo 220px-Kashmir-zitilites_zpsa327bd37.jpg

In the spring of 2002, I introduced my cousin to the band Kent (who is about to receive a review extravaganza). My cousin later repaid the favor by introducing me to Kent's Danish alternative-rock counterparts, Kashmir. He bought me their (at the time) three latest albums as a gift over consecutive holidays, and I enjoyed two of them very much. Quite tellingly, though, he saved the earliest released of those three albums, Zitilites, for last. This is because, of the three, Zitilites is easily the least enjoyable. It lacks the momentum of Kashmir's later albums, and bogs down under the immense weight of its hourlong runtime.
A trend I've noticed in this review series: If your album is between 13-15 tracks and eclipses the runtime threshold of an hour, it will probably become a bit monotonous and difficult to slog through. Zitilites definitely hits this barrier around its saggy middle, but it has one major thing going for it: cool factor (just look at the album cover). Kasper Eistrup's voice falls inside that striking Thom Yorke-wavelength without encroaching into the realm of fatalism (I don't know if that made sense. I love Thom Yorke, but Eistrup never sounds as if he is intoning the world's end). The band's guitar tones are really enjoyable, even if they aren't always in service of the most interesting riffs. Zitilites seems to be housing a naked energy that is never quite unleashed. Kashmir would finally unleash it a couple years later on No Balance Palace, but because Zitilites keeps the sword in the sheath, it is enjoyable without ever causing much excitement. "Ramparts," is as close as it gets.

Then again, I should probably mention that Zitilites is a transition work between Kashmir's earlier, more straightforward rock sound, and their later, darker, vaster, more atmospheric indie work. Because of this, I guess I should cut Zitilites a little slack. Then again, with gorgeous songs like "Petite Machine," it doesn't need much.

2003 Sony/Columbia
1. Rocket Brothers 5:26
2. Surfing the Warm Industry 4:26
3. The Aftermath 4:22
4. Ruby Over Diamond 3:09
5. Melpomene 4:39
6. The Push 4:46
7. Ramparts 4:06
8. Petite Machine 4:44
9. The New Gold 3:40
10. Big Fresh 5:11
11. In the Sand 3:13
12. Small Poem of Old Friend 6:04
13. Zitilites 4:01
14. Bodmin Pill 3:59

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