May 13, 2004

(The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope "Can and Do What They Will"

A long, long time ago--oh, two years ago--a bunch of DC indie-pop veterans got together and created some really heady, psychedelic rock music. And it was good. They named their band (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope, as their music was swirly, colorful rock that changed and expanded and made new shapes with each and every tumble. Such is not a real surprise, considering that the pedigree of their band members showed that they were all ex-Lilys--but then again, what early 90s DC indie-pop musician WASN'T in the Lilys? Their debut record These Are (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope, was a really fun, heady blast of retro-shoegaze pop.

For their new record, Can and Do What They Will, they've decided to expand their sound a bit (translation: make the songs LONGER). The four songs found on this new little record are, in a word, AWESOME. The opening "My Electric System" is six minutes of blissful pop music; if ever you wondered what a more hippie version of My Bloody Valentine would sound like, then here you go. "Sun Set" is indie-pop of the highest order; it sounds a LOT like the Ropers--again, not a surprise, given this band's pedigree. The ten-minute "Oceans of Sand" should be retitled "Oceans of Acid Rock," because it's just a massive jam session, and it sounds GREAT cranked up. "Friend Among Friends" is pure garage rock, and its boogie-down nature is tempered with a Vanilla Fudge-style acidity that tastes..real..good. (I refuse to recognize that last song, it's nothing more than a seven-minutes too longsound collage-slash-drum circle, and in my opinion, it's a waste and a pimple on an otherwise flawless record.)

Hopefully they'll give us a mind-expanding full-length album sometime soon. I really hope so. Heck, I've never been one for the big-ass psych-rock jam sessions, but (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope pull it off QUITE nicely. Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream with Can and Do What They Will; you won't be disappointed.

--Joseph Kyle

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