Koi are a young band from Gothenburg, Sweden founded in 2001 by Patrik Andersson (vocals, guitars) and Markus Monttinen (drums). Together with Eemus Ranta (guitars), Robert Palm (keyboards) and Joni Kaartinen (bass) they began writing songs and rehearsed them in the basement of Eemus' parents. According to the band members they have been influenced by Porcupine Tree, Oceansize, Beardfish and Opeth. The music on their debut In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday can be best described as progressive indie rock built on melancholic and aggressive atmospheres. Instead of long guitar and keyboard solos Koi concentrate on feelings, melodies and harmonies.
The album starts with The Rabbit, a six-minute song in the vein of the atmospheric music of Anathema and Porcupine Tree with minor rhythm changes and close harmony singing accompanied by heavy guitar solos and a quite bombastic sound in the end. Play it loud and you'll be excited or disappointed; there's no compromise. The instrumental track Woodnote also lasts for six minutes, but has a completely different approach. Here, only the instruments have to draw your attention but fortunately, that's no problem at all. Koi know how to create different atmospheres. Terminal Souls is the longest track on the album. The acoustic guitars and the slightly distorted vocals of Patrik Anderson make this piece very interesting. The lyrics are quite depressive, but really mature and rather heavy for these young guys. Navigated To The Blank Undrawn is a rather heavy piece with fiery guitar work and speedy synths. Although this is not my favourite song, it has a lot of musical ideas and so has the title track, another bombastic up-tempo modern rock song with lots of aggressive passages alternating with quiet piano pieces. The 48 seconds of In A World Of A Child's Mind contains only noises comparable to a guitar soundcheck just before a concert.
However, the beautiful ballad Eventide is introduced with the sound of a thunderstorm alongside a classic piano theme. The violin provides this song with a dark atmosphere that fits the dramatic lyrics well. If you listen to this album don't forget to read the lyrics; they're special and almost magical. Breaking The Day is the logical follow-up of Eventide, a slow song with fiery guitar eruptions. If you like Anathema you'll enjoy this one as well. The final songs of the album are certainly not for sissies! Metamorphosis and Swaying To Sleep are short, but heavy instrumental soundscapes and from Less Than Abstract I got shivers down my spine! Just like Eventide this one slowly builds up to a perfect ending of this debut album.
Well, I have to confess that this album made several spins in my CD-player before I really could appreciate it. At first I wasn't impressed at all, but later on I discovered all the details of the individual songs. Koi are a very talented young band that I hope to see in the flesh very soon at one of the Dutch venues.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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