KALEIDOBOLT – This One Simple Trick (2022)REVIEW

It’d make sense to view Helsinki-borne eclectic atomic rock trio Kaleidobolt through a moderne heavy rock lens only to suss equal parts new blood, late twentieth century borrowed stoner buzz, and a certain blues rock of ages that reaches as deep as the late sixties for bouts of downright genius firing-off within their head-first charged nerve yet I’ve resolved to drop out of time and purely consider headspace in response to the Finnish group’s greater sensation. Of late they’ve indulged in speed at a minimum rate of Lemmy on his best day, aiming for a limit wherein the ‘on edge’ sensation kept thier rocking steady, exciting enough deviation from the usual clunk and buzz of heady rock revisionisms. Though this continues to hold true on this fine fourth full-length these fellowes are now more often found shaking the blood of its anxieties rather than jettisoning them, finding a chilled yet boisterous “eustress rock” notion, a kick in the pants careful enough with its angle and push to the point of motivation rather than pure tailbone bruising punishment. ‘This One Simple Trick‘ is a high, a collective high for sure but one that invites the listener to feel a bit of lysergic-assisted freedom via heaps of scootin’ riffs and head swinging, jet-engineered prog-rock freakouts, all of it dropping uncannily catchy and with a big yellow smile.

A power trio indebted to garage rock revival, proto-metal energy and old prog rock records since at least 2014 or so, Kaleidobolt are best known today for their missile-shot energetic performances on and off record, but that action hadn’t been recognized within their sound ’til their Svart-released third long-player (‘Bitter‘, 2019) which I’d reviewed at the time. Their first two albums had been strong but predictable in their 90’s stoner metal and 70’s heavy psychedelic rock roots, not having found the performative element they’d need to stand out just yet. ‘Bitter‘ was a point of launch for the group and instantly stood out for its adventurous use of guitar tones, frayed melodicism, and a sort of haunting yet reassuring touch which’d naturally suit a Finnish artist. With one third of the band re-staffed since the previous album it is inevitable that some change would come along with ‘This One Simple Trick‘ and I suppose for the better if we can the additionally inventive skill of new drummer Mårten Gustafsson as a font which Kaleidobolt appear to have benefitted from in the form of greater possibilities, an expanded percussive palette. The short of it is that they’ve simultaneously gone a bit more prog-rock and a shade desert-bound along the way, making for an alien sort of anxietous yet catchy brand of heavy rock that is a breeze to pick up and run with.

At least we know the sedatives are working, chief. — If we’re going to be swallowed up into the listless portal de-void humanity would create by way of endtyme greed and violent depravity well hey, make it a bit of a party on the way out, man. It ain’t the entire sentiment of ‘This One Simple Trick‘, wherein existential dread serves acrobatic rock n’ roll in a satisfyingly escapist yet still conscious sort of way, as a certain sense of ‘smiling while dying inside’ informs the full listen in a way that doesn’t betray the fuzz-huge riffing and bluesy bustle of Kaleidobolt‘s music in peaking motion. “Fantastic Corps” is a fine example up front with equal parts stoner ramblin’ crunch riffs and slick anthemic chorus as we ride toward the midpoint (~2:54 minutes) into the album opener, a bit of elephant rock hustle breaking out ’til aromatized electric keyboard tones take us toward their fiery guitar finish. It is mere foreshadowing for the level of boogie-and-shake weirdo rock available on Side A as we hit upon the records two singles back to back with the *chef’s kiss* action rock del arte of “I Should be Running” giving us twinkling prog-eyed stare before their funk-thickened earlier Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque ride kicks in. It is likewise the first moment on the album where most listeners will catch the hint to appreciate bassist Marco Menestrina‘s shining choice(s) of tone and his bopping run-on rock n’ roll jazz movements, which serve the song an eclectic, stewed feeling. I greatly appreciate a bassist who can serve their greater carve in a loud way but still adapt on a dime.

Merja-Liisa” wouldn’t normally be my jam, a bluesy late 70’s rock strut that ends up having too much fun and forgetting to land its ’68 blues rock punchline at this crucial juncture in the running order. Easygoing stuff compared to ‘Bitter‘ if we were to cut things off right there but when paired with the similarly paced and (initially) voiced “Weekend Warrior” these two songs tie off an extended showcase of Kaleidobolt from an entirely new angle, an accessible yet divergent form of new-old heavy rock which manages to better form those ancient tones and lost tricks of progressive and psychedelic rock music into a modern yet retro pulse. The ‘softer’ side of the band should grow on existing fandom like miss as the less serious tone of the album ensures none of it reads as artsy-fartsy progressive rock music or too serious-faced retro rock. It isn’t what I showed up for but I’d not found good enough reason to slap the headphones off my skull yet.

The theatre of it all ramps up on Side B with “Border Control” managing to be the major centerpiece for the album from my point of view, the most complete statement of what the album brings beyond past releases along with a bit of a despairing quality to the vocal performances and lilt of the arrangements as they swerve between all manner of contemplative psychedelic refrain and bigger acid rock motioning. At this point it counts for something that Kaleidobolt have managed a complex mélange of ideals beyond the norm that speak to a distinct sound and hard-to-box make yet they’ve stuck with a generally easygoing, kinda freaked thread throughout the distance ‘This One Simple Trick‘ travels and this’ll begin to feel like an easily read language, a known pathway after several listens. Point being that it really is a fuzz rock guitarist’s record, an eclectic taste served weirding and funnily earnest throughout between analog and studio effects, as such it won’t necessarily have much to say on a cursory listen yet the gist of it has some value when sat with and enjoyed. If you’ve got to feel something, go somewhere, and get a strong whiff of personality from a heavy rock record then the late 90’s alt-stoner metallic runs of “Ultraviolent Chimpanzee” and the sentimental epic finale of “Walk on Grapes” won’t feel excessive in addition to the rest of the album but instead affirming in soaking up the larger statement of ‘This One Simple Trick‘ and restating the sorta heavy, kinda fun, and overall memorable trip.

Though it isn’t the direct bigger-and-louder follow up to ‘Bitter‘ that I’d expected, this fourth album from Kaleidobolt does ultimately live up to the high bar they’d set for themselves prior, a beast with updated genetic expression reaching similar if not better overall fitness. In finding a bit more of their chill and working with a broader set of progressive/psychedelic rock tools they achieve an uncomplicated yet involved listening experience, further development of signature which bears a uniquely stressed mood and plenty of cross-generational heavy rock blending to keep things varietal and engaging. Though the softer side of the band isn’t always for me ‘This One Simple Trick‘ manages to be both the strongest flavored release from the band and their most accessible release to date. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (77/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:This One Simple Trick
LABEL(S):Svart Records
RELEASE DATE:May 6th, 2022

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