Kinski

Alpine Static (Sub Pop)

One of the best pound-for-pound live rock ‘n’ roll bands today has committed a cardinal sin: Kinski have gone and played too much rock. The Seattle quartet managed to please pretty much everybody with their 2003 Sub Pop bow, Airs Above Your Station, which fused their proclivity for minimalist psychedelia with an injection of ball-crushing grooves. Since then, the group’s output has become a disappointing peeling-apart of these two sides, and as a result, Alpine Static is all riff and no spliff. On the bright side, these guys can still turn out triumphant noise-rock action with the best of them—“Hot Stenographer” and “Hiding Drugs in the Temple (Part 2)” reek of leaky carburetors and hot Camaros revvin’ up to the point of backfire. The problem is that listeners never have to wait for the payoff. Gone are the artfully layered pockets of warm, analog bliss, hypnotic hums that built anticipation and eventually coalesced into a raging fireball of crackling wattage. The non-linear sections on Static have devolved into little more than haphazard nuggets of jam session sound tweaking. Sure, the album still wallops, but the dynamics that make Kinski so powerful onstage can’t be heard through the Static.

 
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