Kayo Dot Bio
Toby Driver - voice, guitar, cello, bells, double-bass
Greg Massi - guitar
John Carchia - guitar
Tom Malone - percussion
Mia Matsumiya - violin, viola, bells
Ryan McGuire - bass, double-bass
Forbes Graham - trumpet, euphonium, guitar
Not calling Kayo Dot a metal band is difficult, because there aren't many other genres that leave you with the punched-in-the-gut feeling you get when listening to the group's debut.
Calling them metal and pointing out they're on John Zorn's Tzadik label makes things worse, because Kayo Dot is not a frenzied Naked City or Boredoms-styled band either. Plus there's the classical side, woodwinds and all, rubbing up against a mighty guitar's echoing bar chord. When they let loose they're like Sleep or Isis, and when they calm down they're like Rachel's or This Mortal Coil minus the noodling. That's probably the most satisfying thing about Choirs of the Eye -- it's an extremely well-paced and a structured listen from start to finish, with little that's overdone. It's crushing, epic soundtracks one minute and precious chamber music the next.
But Kayo Dot isn't buying into the soft-loud-soft thing like all of the Mogwai followers; the band should win your trust when it comes to composition right away. It takes nearly 13 minutes to get to the quick thrash and riffing that closes "The Manifold Curiosity," but it wouldn't be the wall-puncher of a payoff it is without the reflective buildup. Follow it with the Spanish guitar of "Wayfarer," and it becomes obvious right away that this is not wallpaper music but an album to get lost in, preferably alone and uninterrupted.