Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No Balance Palace

Even thought the title sounds exactly like a Danish band that speaks English as a second language trying to get all mysterious, Radiohead-style, and a name that is taken from Zepellin at their most bloated and pompous (they were still very cool then though), Kashmir are certainly no overblown Radiohead wannabes.

No Balance Palace is Kashmir's 5th album (the second to be available on the shelves in Australia), and it sounds exactly like a band that knows exactly what it is doing. Kashmir are HUGE in Denmark, kind of a Scandinavian Powderfinger, and these early forays into Western (i.e. English) music look pretty good so far.
Previous release, Zitilites, was a hidden gem, defying those who passed them off as little more than clones of Thom Yorke and Co. (Kashmir did, however acknowledge Radiohead's influence in many interviews at the time). While the comparisons are probably deserved, Zitilites displayed control and restraint in equal measure, resisting the urge that many of their contemporaries fell into of attempting to create a new musical genre and demolishing musical barriers for evermore. Funnily enough, that kind of thing rarely comes off.
It is this restraint that makes No Balance Palace such a rewarding listen. From the opening fade in of 'Kalifornia' to the Bowie-inclusive 'The Cynic' (David certainly is getting around at the moment)and the closer, 'She's Made of Chalk', Kashmir display a thoroughness bordering on the anal-retentive, inflecting every inch of this record with very personal ideosyncrasies and sounds. Chord (and Key) changes are always a little unexpected, and frontman Kasper Eistrup's vocals range from sounding bored, almost tired on 'The Cynic' to exultant ('Ophelia').
If atention to detail and atmosphere are the hallmarks of a great band, don't expect Kashmir to be confined to Denmark for much longer.


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