Released: June 01 2011
Label: Field Records
By James Murray
Originally Written for The 405
Two-piece bands are hard to come across nowadays – but when they do crop up you’d expect something stripped down, something minimal. This isn’t the case with Khuda, as the Leeds based duo stretch out the capabilities of their guitars and drum kit to create an explosive, atmospheric demonstration of post-rock.
With instrumental records, tight production is vital. Fortunately, Iecava is sublimely produced. Each track interweaves subtly – which is somewhat paradoxical as this record is some way off elusive. In fact it’s quite the opposite, considering there’s only two common instruments used throughout the records thirty minute run-length Iecava is frenzied, intense and exertive.
Only the individual can decide whether lyrics or instrumentals make the greater impact – but if Khuda send out one message with their second LP, it’s that instrumentals can be arranged and manipulated to evoke imagery and emotion in ways that vocals cannot. Iecava can be described by a phrase thrown about much too often in musical critique:‘A journey’. Khuda have clearly attempted to create a rollercoaster album full of highs and lows, breakdowns and musical explosions – and despite their instrumental restraint they’ve succeeded. The emotion and imagery unleashed on the listener throughout the record would make it fitting for the big screen. Epic adventure films are craving the overwhelming passion stored within Khuda compositions.
Album titled track ‘Iecava’ is a highlight of the LP. Despite its toned down nature, fast-paced layered guitars evoke images of fear and imminent danger as nonconforming drum rhythms add to the tracks sense of urgency.
Iecava is a brilliant display of musicianship; but even with only eight tracks in total – towards the latter end of the LP diversity is crippled by their lack of either lyrics or additional instruments. Most of the tracks use the same formula of steady, atypical drumming overlaid by fast-paced guitar riffs – which is impressive, but can become monotonous in the long-run.
‘Tyche’ is a fitting finale – and the albums most adventurous and experimental display. Heavy use of cymbals and guitar distortion on top of regular tempo changes offers an intriguing, more experimental approach that isn’t upheld for the entirety of the record. Iecava is explosive, impressive and beautifully composed – but the real question is whether having only two members will limit their future development as a band.