My introduction to the music of Kye Kye came at the Cornerstone Festival of 2012. The crowd built rapidly as the band prepared to play. Being busy with interviews I missed all but the final three songs of their set. It was outstanding and drove me to pick up their captivating debut 2011 release, Young Love.
Based in Camas, Washington, Kye Kye is comprised of Estonian-born siblings Olga (vox/guitar), Timothy (programming/keys/guitar), Alex (keys), and brother-in-law Thomas (drums) who craft their indie pop/rock with an electronic edge.
Three years have passed and Kye Kye headed to the studio to record their second effort, Fantasize. As with every band, this comes with some trepidation, fearing that they may fall into the dreaded “sophomore slump”. Those worries have been resolved for Kye Kye and their dedicated fans. Fantasize is undeniably incredible. Driven with simple, constrained melodies and using synth and powerful drum sequences, the album could be compared to Purity Ring, M83, and CHVRCHES. But those comparisons end when the ethereal vocals of Olga Yagolnikov are blended into the musical mix. Vocally gorgeous and subdued, yet strong and defined at the same time, Fantasize could be likened to that dreamy state between sleep and awakening, where sounds are subdued, yet all encompassing.
Fantasize is a solid work from beginning to end, with none of the filler tracks so commonly found with less abled artists. While the album should be listened to from beginning to end to truly understand the nature of Kye Kye, it does contain a number of great stand alone tracks.
The pop music edged “Honest Affection” tonally rides a rolling wave of music with Olga delivering the romantically emphasized lyrics:
I never knew that I was so harsh with things i thought i wasn’t afraid of I never knew that i was so scared to change because of honest affection longing yearning hoping looking over your words stuck on your heart a part of me just wanted to know but the other part was always so wasted my heart was always made to be still to wait because you promised you’d save it I never knew i was in a place hiding to avoid any signals I close my eyes and picture your face and see a look i never envisioned
My personal favourite on Fantasize, “Dreams (2 am)” offers broad variations in vocal stylings, subtle use of piano and strings that bring this song to a pinnacle.
heaven in a way
how these lights they lead calm through December I wait so then I know
i never said I was never tired
you said wake up in the morning you said oh oh oh oh o ho push.. with a heart.. with a weight with all you see and
push with a heart, with a weight with the mind that knows the one narrow road what you said is right, ill never walk away
“Hiding Place” beautiful lyrics utilizes and beautiful time signature change as Olga builds into the chorus.
Palace walls, walking down, warmer air, greener ground This is my hiding place,perfect scenes and perfect sounds flawless faith a gentle hope words that build beautiful walls That have open doors, give it time- give it time
Fantasize finishes with the instrumental “Celeste”.
It may seems presumptuous to make early judgements, but Fantasize is likely to be at the top of eeveryone’s favourites list for 2014, as Kye Kye redefines the art of music.