Kolb - Tyrannical Vibes Music Album Reviews

Kolb - Tyrannical Vibes Music Album Reviews
The New York singer-songwriter infuses aesthetics of indie pop with the rigor of his opera training. Sung by a small crew of friends, his cryptic lyrics feel like a snapshot of his social circle.

Mike Kolb moved to New York City in 2012 to study opera at Brooklyn College, but it wasn’t until he became immersed in the borough’s DIY scene that the singer-songwriter found an outlet for the feelings he sought to express. In 2017, he began home-recording songs under his own name, infusing the quaint, bare-bones aesthetic of classic indie pop with the rigor of his classical training. While these two elements of his style might seem like opposing forces on paper, in practice they form a delicate symbiosis. On early efforts like 2018’s Making Moves EP, Kolb emoted with the ease of a marathon runner’s warm-up jog, offsetting his theatrical, Morrissey-esque instincts on the mic with a muted, warbly instrumental palette.

On his latest LP, Tyrannical Vibes, Kolb broadens his once insular creative scope, enlisting a small crew of friends and former collaborators to provide lead vocals in his place. Though he does sing on a few tracks, Kolb slips into the background for the majority of the album’s runtime, meticulously arranging vocal harmonies around his own lyrics to draw out hidden flavors, or weaving jazzier instrumental threads into the fold. Performed by an ensemble cast, his signature lyrics, volleying cryptic questions back and forth, feel less like an internal monologue and more like a surreal peek into Kolb’s real-life social circle.

It’s Kolb’s unaccompanied voice, however, that kicks off opener “Cruising” with a cheeky “hello” before he lays down a staccato acoustic guitar riff—the sort of plunking phrase you’d hear on an early Beat Happening record. When the verse arrives, his vocals feel more understated than in the past, slipping into a faint, high-pitched register that allows them to quiver and yelp without dominating the mix. On the hook, Kolb’s guitar plucks ripple out into chords, while gleaming keys and intricately braided backing vocal rounds performed by Ani Ivry-Block and Carolyn Hietter fill in the interstitial space. You may not notice all these details in passing, but there’s a bustling network of tiny harmonic interactions operating beneath the surface, informed by the years he spent in a Catholic church choir.

These components emulsify even better when Kolb works around Hietter’s lead vocals. Though she is primarily a saxophonist, her voice’s cordial yet slightly deadpan timbre suits the gently sardonic tone of Kolb’s writing. On “I Guess I’m Lucky,” she plays a character whose partner has yet to show up to dinner: ​​I’ll give you ‘til a quarter to six/To make your way through the door/I’ll bet that they kept you late/To go and mop up the floor,” she lilts, sounding resigned. The saxophone solo she wedges into a brief interlude bolsters the scene, winding around peppy guitar chords and frail, chiming keys as if scoring a ’70s sitcom’s opening credits.

Her sax briefly appears again on the record’s best track, “I Love to Play the Game,” this time in a supporting role, bookending each verse with a swift melodic flourish. Kolb has said that Tyrannical Vibes was inspired by karaoke sessions, and it shows: The prevailing mood is downright celebratory, cowbell clinking like a toast as Hietter, Kolb, and his roommate Max Brown lay down criss-crossing vocal takes that overlap at strange, revelatory angles. Even the guitar solo is perfectly in tune with the raucous, sloppy energy, hammering on a pair of notes before it sputters out in a maniacal daze. It’s easy to get caught up in the reverie.

Kolb’s momentum only falters when he slows the brisk pace on “Jean-Luc,” a floaty tune that staggers on a half-formed groove. Though its individual elements—a feathery drone played on an electric guitar’s highest strings, handclaps, a gentle bassline to nudge things along—don’t quite gel, the track’s still not without potential. Invoking the late New Wave auteur, it playfully revels in espionage and grayscale paranoia (“birds chirping in code”), but, as the only true solo outing here, it lacks the record’s unifying sense of camaraderie.

Tyrannical Vibes is an idyllic escape for both performers and listeners. Like the after-work karaoke that brought Kolb’s band together, it’s a temporary reprieve from headier ventures like opera or avant-garde jazz: low-stakes and a bit silly, but tinged with just enough academic expertise to set it apart from the indie landscape’s ubiquitous bedroom pop. At a compact 25 minutes, the record is a cozy indulgence, like a rerun of that imaginary ’70s sitcom. The cast feels strangely familiar, its jazzy intonations warm and comforting. Despite Tyrannical Vibes’ title, its atmosphere is inviting—never oppressive.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kolb - Tyrannical Vibes Music Album Reviews Kolb - Tyrannical Vibes Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 05, 2022 Rating: 5


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