For rock band Kamehameha, all roads lead to Queens, New York which is where its members collided together to form their band. However, the story of how their latest album Mammals came to be is by no means one you’ve heard before. Typically a band gets together and gets to work making music. Kamehameha formed in 2008 and in that time they went through several different band members and Mammals kept being put on hold. The album ended up taking nine years to bake in the oven. It is an interesting arrangement of experimental alt-rock and dream pop.
My favorite aspect of the music is the dreamy, sleepy moments that pull in hints of trip-hop. I love the curious little rhythms and quirks tucked into the very loosely structured songs. These elements are light hearted but not fluff. They are complemented with layers of true musicianship. This lightness is necessary as the other half of their music is deeply atmospheric and heavy. These guys have the ability to transport a listener into their floor. It’s like gravity amplified. They really know how to create a sinking sensation and while I was not always fond of it, I respect how effective they are at this technique.
Sometimes the lightness and heaviness meet up in the same track, but for the most part they are kept separate. The first half of the album is very committed to slow building grunge sounding movements with illusive lyrics. As you get toward the second half of the album things get lighter, but by no means fluffier. The center of gravity doesn’t shift too much. You stay in a low-key zone.
I enjoy being able to drink in everything as the mixing and mastering are well done. I would definitely say that the production was key in creating the sinking malaise effect. There’s lots of little meticulous layers stacked on top of each other with these songs and I enjoyed exploring them. I know the digital era track arrangement seems a small issue, but I still think it can really help someone understand a band fully.
The track arrangement felt a little lopsided. The album is so front heavy that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end before being completely submerged into my rug especially because they were longer than your average songs. I think breaking up the weight a little bit might have made a big difference for me. I think what would have completely sold me on this album is if there was a greater percentage of the lighter stuff . One, because they’re very good at it and two, I just needed a counterweight. There were points while listening where I literally felt flattened.
I like what Kamehameha brings to the table. This is great music for being introspective or let’s face it, doing “certain” recreational activities. I think it’s also fun to note that non-human mammals were also credited in to the album, lots of cats and dogs and even a chinchilla. I think for people who enjoy deeply immersive experiences and alt-rock, Kamehameha is up your alley without a doubt.
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