The business world has a saying. Condensed, it says that the midnight hours are where your next empire is built. This is not only in the case of business, but all the arts and hustles people go for. The Kerosene Hours represent this very bracket of time, where magic, chaos, energy and passion all collide. This is his first album release, Fantasy Ultra.
With an impressive blend of new wave, alternative, slowcore and shoegaze-we might be looking at a revivalist. The album begins with The Reality of Our Times, an intro track. Bleeding immediately into You Were in My Dreams Last Night-it creates this complex pattern over a simple background. The deep voice permeates the architecture of the foundation, syncopating in parts. The “solos” are more to do with how the background organically filters with an addition of a new layer.
Romantic Fantastic has elements of 90s alternative pop-rock. Something that The Pixies would really love to play live, this track uses a great progression with lyrics that are inquisitive and sincere production. A song like this needs layers for sound registers, and the team has done the trick. The sound might split you with a deep melancholy, but the chords create a contrast that is entertaining to say at the least.
The vinyl scratch in the beginning of each track is a nice touch. You can hear it on Hello Crazy, before the synth lead kicks in with formidable style, a quintessential sound of the times. Morrissey would love a song like this one, where the playful synths offset the sound of the baritone vocals. This song can be edged on 3 sides as a Joy Division track and no one would doubt it. With a funky bassline keeping score, The instrumental past the 2 minute mark is very impressive, with some rhythmic anomalies making it a great track.
To dance or not to
The Radio In My Room moves to a Radiohead, late 90’s alternative sound. The Kerosene Hours make the mark of a true archer, exploring a different tone or note in each song. The sound has a lightness in this track, a joyful disposition that hooks you on for longer. Dance For Money makes an emo/dance track in ways that are a whole different aura. The electronica influence is strong-and the vocals never sounded better, owing to the minimal aspect of the track. This artist is a powerful satirist, using irony and social messages with clever incisions in his tracks.
Pretty Ghost has a beat and sound you just can’t avoid. To dance to that is. With the baritone sounding deeper, Fantasy Ultra becomes the experimental long haul trip that it was intended to be. With genre and tonal shifts a regular occurance, the sound accentuates the lyrics that are a poetic deflection from the repetition of messages you hear these days. My Dirty Car has the alternative shoegaze sound that The Kerosene Hours has mastered. The synths act like the most powerful tool in songs like this.
Imperfect You opens with a PSA monologue, where the irony of double standards bears its ugly face. The power of stereo sound is clearer and more defined now, especially with the single strums on the distortion strings. The clear finger pointed to the glaring issues in society is the best part of this album, the nuances created in exploring it lyrically. The title track comes next, a form of poetry recited with the simple change between two chords. It uses this minimalism to create the tension that exists between the silences.
The hidden messages in scale
Shimmy Shimmy Void, like the title suggests, has a good dance beat and distracting sound. In the sense that you lose focus of the lyrics, which is where the concrete foundation of these songs lie. The songs create this machinist outfit that have similar nature but differing, complex messages. My Baby is Me offers a dramatic view on solitude. These mature topics become much more digestible in songs, and that is the irony and sorrow of it. Just the strings and guitar with a simple beat offer so much more than what can be thought of being produced.
The last track is I Don’t Wanna Go Outside. It has a simple strum over which The Kerosene Hours display the mortal version of fairy dust. In moments, this track sounds like NIN, with a mixture of new wave and alternative of the 90s. The dread is translated, almost traumatic in sound recreating the past two years. It can also be seen as a comfort of your own cocoon, and that is where the brilliance of the hours between midnight and 4 am lie.
The Kerosene Ultra is doing something that the mainstream hasn’t seen in many years, maybe won’t also. This is stylistic revival and powerful resolve, to have all that music mean something more than a page on a streaming site. The songs speak of more than just songs, and that is what repurposes the magic it created unto itself. Fantasy Ultra is the secret red-glare look at what is changing in society. These hours are worth the change.
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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.