Kayo Dot's New Album, 'Plastic House on Base of Sky,' Is a David Lynchian Electronic Wonder

Toby Driver and company subvert nostalgia into darkness on their newest record.

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Jun 20 2016, 2:11pm

For over ten years and across nine albums, Kayo Dot has made it a mission to avoid stagnation. In their prolific career they've embraced sonic progression, using various genres as tools to further a greater vision of how music can evoke feelings both grandiose and devastatingly intimate. Today, we're premiering their new album, Plastic House On Base Of Sky. From the first moments of "Amalias Theme," there's an immediately noticeable departure in sound. Prior albums would contain a stray synth line or overarching textures on a song, but here, the move to electronic is the main attraction. It's a composition that hones in on the different ways electronic sounds can be applied to different genres, which here creates some engrossing post-punk. Despite bringing a more palatable sound than their earlier work, the band doesn't lay its head on easily digestible new wave tinged on nostalgia.

Since the beginning of their existence, darkness has been innate to what thematically drives the band. "All the Pain in All the Wide World" begins like a pretty standard synth pop track, but as the song progresses, the familiar elements of that genre start to gain distance from what's expected, creating a sense of compelling discomfort for the listener. "Rings of Earth" swells undercurrents of darkness below shiny synthesizers, making you feel trapped in some kind of Lynchian nightclub that never lets you leave. Plastic House On Base of Sky uses these electronic instruments to carve out more complex emotions than happiness or anger as much as it works in dismantling genres. But it's a familiar feeling and sound– the mystery of why pleasure melts into sadness so easily.

Pre-order your copy on The Flenser.