Sound — 9
Mylets is Henry Kohen, a multi-talented one man band. All vocals, all guitar, written and performed by himself using a variety of effects, arguably sometimes in unnecessary excess. It's hard to criticise the man's talent however. Bringing original booming riffs and licks into alternative music, alongside a powerful vocal standard throughout the album.
After watching some live sessions and performances, it becomes clear that Kohen has taken some time to compose himself and make sure that he is in control of his sound for the studio recording, as his voice is of a much higher quality and his playing of a cleaner and more organised nature. This said, there is still very much a dirty and unpolished feel to many of the tracks, which works very much in favour of the style of the album.
The fact that all the tracks were layered over each other using a variety of effects such as delays, octavers, reverb etc, really gives each track a more complete feel and Kohen has slid the little intricacies lower into the mix on many of the tracks to really fill in the gaps.
The use of a drum machine does become evident, and whilst it most definitely suffices, it does maybe subtract from the vibe that the rest of each of the tracks gives off in that the drum sound is very clean cut and pre-set, rather than louder and less uniform, although this may be more to do with the mixing of the tracks.
Some tracks do hold similarities to other artists producing in a similar field of music, as is the usual case with any music. To me, the first connection I was able to make was one with experimental noise pop duo Sleigh Bells. Something about the screaming guitar sound through tracks and the way the layer all seem to harmonise with one another in some sort of "broken cheerleader" fashion (some term I made up that seems to make sense to me, sorry if that makes no sense). Strangely there are also points in tracks like "Ampersand" that rather unfittingly bring the sounds of artists like Mac DeMarco and indie bands such as Two Door Cinema Club into the mix, and it's this transition between such a range of sounds that had me constantly wanting more.
Finally I'd like to touch on the guitar in a bit more detail. The use of effects works very well throughout, with some very interesting sounds being produced, as well as an extraordinary range from track to track. What is noticeable is that at no point does the quality of sound or playing ability drop, it is very much consistent throughout. There are definitely points when you feel that it may have sounded better had he not used a certain effect or had he just let loose a little bit more, but the experimental sounds that come as a result are very satisfying indeed, with some gorgeous outro's to the tracks.
With all taken in to consideration, the sound quality of the album, and Kohen's musical ability are very much of high standard, making this a very professional sounding album.
Lyrics — 6
Overall the lyrics throughout the album don't make a whole lot of sense to me, I'm not going to lie. I do, however, very much like an artist that can confuse me and get me thinking about their music. The lyrics are very coherent with the style of the music. As Henry is screaming away you listen to what it is that he has to say and something about the use of language and the phrasing in each track fits to be equally as disjointed as the music. And of course, what really does it for me is the fact that not every song is about love and loss, it's very open to interpretation.
To me the lyrics are very dark in a happier way. When I say this I mean there is a feel of escape and fragility in the lyrics and often in the way that they are sung, but when the song is all together it seems to twist and distort this and the mood is brought up a bit so you don't feel helpless and scared by the music.
In the end, as much as the lyrics in my opinion are actually very interesting and used in a very intelligent way that just has you wanting to shout along, I have heard lyrics that were far more organised and had that deeper meaning to them that really makes them pop out and makes you feel for them. Sadly I'm not especially brought to feeling much when I listen to the lyrics of this album.
Overall Impression — 9
When you take this album and really analyse it as a whole piece, it's something different. Every track has it's own vibe, no track really sounds much like another. That said, some of the tracks are rather disjointed and don't even sound like themselves. Using "Ampersand" once again as an example: at about one minute in we move from a jumpy light hearted track to a minor key vibrato guitar phrase and then to a slightly more cheery section seconds later, and then we return to the feel of the first half of the track. It is very surprising and not particularly to my taste, but the track still has some strengths to it, like its final minute or so where things get a little heavier.
The song that really got me to discover this album, "Arizona," is one that truly makes me happy. An uplifting sound and a calming chorus with a brilliant outro is all that I need and this track does not fail to provide. After my discovery, I moved onto the rest of the tracks, and decided that I was very much in love with sections of each song. The main riff section in "King Sleep" is just so powerful and the harmonies have been used to full effect to really wake you up and kick you in the nads with an incredible sound. The last minute or so of "Seven Seals" is a dirty sounding shocker and it gives me the chills everytime I stick it on, and that is a fantastic quality for a piece of music to be able to have.
It's not only the raw punch that most of the tracks have. One of the instrumental tracks of the album "Homes" feels to me like something straight out of a self discovery advertisement, or some Disney adventure game trailer. It's unnervingly relaxing, a break from the severity of the rest of the album. I was half expecting to be dropped straight back into it, but the tranquillity decided to stick around for the final track "Sharks." I found myself enjoying the track but rather disappointed that it didn't seem to progress much further than it did - I guess I was expecting some sort of explosive finish, but hey, what can you do.
When you can understand the talent that an artist has and how it is that all the tracks are performed, you learn to appreciate the tracks so much more than you may if you did not have that knowledge, and this album stands out for me because I really know how talented Henry is, and, of course, because it is an album that has me rocking along throughout with some absolutely killer tracks. Well done Mylets.