Rhyton - Kykeon - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Rhyton - Kykeon

by Jim Harris Rating:7.5 Release Date:2014-11-18

Modern psych thrives in Brooklyn, and Rhyton combines three of the bigger players in the field to release a strong new album, Kykeon. Rhyton are essentially a psych jam-band; all the songs are stinging, clanging instrumentals with lots of pounding beats and layers of guitars and keyboards creating weird noises and musical juxtapositions that will remind you a bit of Grails, but also jam and groove along like Goat.

The first four songs are titled from some ancient Greek or Mediterranean reference (Kykeon, if I googled it correctly, is some sort of psychotropic Greek god after-dinner drink), while the last two songs, ‘California Black Box Vapors’ and ‘The Striped Sun’, fall squarely in the category of 'something I don’t have to Google'.

Rhyton makes it quite clear that they are strongly influenced by that Eastern vibe of sitars and other jerky ancient instruments. It was actually quite refreshing to hear the bouzouki used so cleverly as it was on Kykeon… (Just kidding - I have no fucking clue what a bouzouki is, but there are definitely some odd and wonderful instruments utilized in these jams).

The one problem I have with psych jam-bands, and jam-bands in general, is they tend to sound absolutely wonderful for the first five minutes of a song and then, inevitably, sink into elongated stretches of tedious repetition and near-jazzy improvisations, which, one time long ago, put both my date and I to sleep at a Grateful Dead concert (luckily we were nowhere near Bill Cosby’s dressing room or we might have both woke up with sore orifices).

But thankfully, Rhyton gets it right, as there is not a single song over 10 minutes, and each song is refreshingly different in execution. Tracks ‘Topkapi’ and ‘Gneiss’ feature Rhyton at their best, wrapping Eastern music into bluesy rhythms to create soundscapes that evoke traveling through ancient foreign landscapes.

Kykeon is at its best when the volume soars and grooves are heavy, and at its not-so-best when the noises and plucky improvisations get a tad boring, which rarely appears on this one. Kykeon, and the point psych jam-bands are trying to make, might be an acquired taste in the modern alternative landscape, but if you are so inclined, Rhyton execute it damn well.

Comments (3)

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Nice review. I have to write a psych-rock review. How do I not mention the P Word ?

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

That's a tough one, but then again, we probably overuse the word. (For instance, just replace Psych with MFing above)

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Works for me

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