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Made In China
October 2012
Released: 2012, Rising Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: UK Team

So a lot of modern life is pretty shit – they keep telling us this despite the fact that for the most part it’s already in front of us every day. Human’s can be a scummy lot. Having a moral or social conscience though isn’t reserved to other people or places, you can have one right at home. For Kyshera home is South Wales (UK) but their lyrical themes are a lot further reaching than local news. After all if it’s anything like my local news it’ll be full of old people reaching milestone birthdays and people trying to rob cash machines with JCB’s, and to my knowledge no-one has written a song about that yet.

Anyway Kyshera certainly fit into that drawer marked ‘different’ despite not fitting into much of anything else, to the extent where the band have created their own genre, ‘Konic’ which basically means “anything that is otherwise indefinable”, and has spilled over into a life mantra.

Unlike products bearing its namesake, new album Made In China is more one-off DIY couture, a chaotic blend of influences and musical styles that fall together to form each track, like the patterns in a kaleidoscope – the pieces get in the right place and you see the picture. Essentially it sounds as though the band have approached the writing process with an attitude of what will be will be, and have followed where the song wants, and needs, to go as opposed to trying to engineer it to fit a particular convention.

The easy loose term to use here is progressive, or it’s slightly off-kilter well-travelled cousin that has come back and mashed all its different souvenirs into one scrapbook. So, in an attempt to nail some of this to the wall, ‘Terrorists’ leads with a riff along the Mr Bungle line of thinking, and end’s with the chipmunky sound of a rewinding tape, whilst ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll’ has touches of Bowie, before breaking into a big almost-Musey chorus.

Then there’s the instrumental ‘The Game’ which is all electronic dial-up-internet-transmitting guitar tone accompanied by a rapidly quickening drumbeat, and ‘Mannequins’ which brings the funky riffs before going back to the more thoughtful tortured melody that is prevalent across most of the tracks. It just as quickly toys with nu-metally rap snippets, which are used far more heavily in ‘Germ’, and changing the tone again ‘Burning Witches’ has a 90’s alt-metal verse style with the sort of matter-of-fact vocal tone used in Taproot.

This making sense? I haven’t even mentioned the time changes, spoken word snippets, and snarling dogs. Sometimes it feels like things are there for the sake of it like the artist who uses a rainbow of colour to grab the eye when only one paints the actual picture. Equally, whilst I commend them on having conviction of belief, the overtly moral/political edge to the album’s lyrics means that by the end of Made In China I actually felt slightly helpless in terms of ever changing anything. It doesn’t help that for all of its diversity, the most consistent element of Made In China is a sorrowfully emotive vocal. It makes me more inclined to prematurely mourn the demise of a world that hasn’t quite given up the ghost, when really I think Made In China wants us to give it the shock back to life it needs.

Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Track Listing

1. Terrorists
2. The Game
3. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll
4. Sugar
5. Germ
6. Shelf Life
7. Mannequins
8. Superstar
9. Messiah Mask
10. Made In China
11. Burning Witches
12. Ants


James Kennedy - Guitars and Vocals
Matt Warr - Bass
Phil Smith - Drums

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