The solo effort of Kasium vocalist and front man, Kieran Cooper is a relatively dark affair. It’s cut from the same cloth as Marilyn Manson’s acoustic material, for those dedicated fans who have heard that (For those who haven’t, listen to Kieran Cooper instead. It will save you the disappointment as well as reward you with a new favourite artist).
This is no Kasium release. Where the Premonition EP was replete with uplifting I-just-want-to-throttle-my-air-guitar moments, In Search of Reason is deep, pessimistic and introspective. It’s not the kind of thing to put on during a frivolous get-together or raging pre-town drinks. It’s more an album to play as you watch the world end at a safe distance with the ashes of everyone falling down like rain around you. Several of the darker moments conjure the same feeling you get when a piece of people-ash falls into your glass of celebration whiskey and you realise the world has gone and fucked you again. On that note, it would be prudent to download the album (it’s free and will give you something legal to put on that Terabyte you begged your mum for) before the said apocalypse; I doubt the internet will be working , since it already has its moments pre-Gehenna.
‘Awake’ is bleak. Think Marilyn Manson’s ‘godeatgod’ from Holywood, thought I dare to say Kieran Cooper has a greater vocal range than the artist formally known as Brian Warner. The music is a dreary, wind-ravaged metropolitan landscape and the Kieran’s voice is the empty building on the desolate nameless street. At four minutes it feels short and sweet, until you realise the next track is actually the second movement to the same song. It’s far disconnected from the beginning. It’s much happier for one thing. It makes you want to sway from side to side, and you picture Kieran doing the same with his acoustic, like some bogan Mariachi. The doubled vocals incite a sing-along. Everything is fine. But then, there is sudden, eerie silence.
You sit waiting for some final word...
Your patience is awarded with the songs title, almost whispered “Awake“. What you just listened to was not a song; it was a piece of art and a triptych at that.
‘PsychoBullet’ is drums flailing, marching basslines, guitar riffs a’grooving and a lot of shouting; Kieran calls his voice weird, I call it versatile. It has everything Jimmy Eat World’s only famous song had, if not more. If this was the 90s we’d have a pop rock staple on our hands. The closing guitar solo is the Smashing Pumpkins of yester-year. The track is over far too quick.
Cooper has described In Search of Reason as schizophrenic and I agree. At times I think it would have suited the title My Schizophrenic Acoustic. Listen to the bipolar track ‘Start over’. It’s a mangled mix of strange reverberating guitar switching modes between picking and frantic chords, weird percussion at the peripherals of your hearing and the mixed sentiment of vocal lines like “So this I say to your my friend; go fuck yourself...” which alternate in style between 60’s rock and Gregorian chanting.
There’s so much I want to say about ‘Over me’, but there are so few words that could do the track justice. It is a truly beautiful work, but not in any conventional sense. It’s dark and cynical... listen to the words, like really listen. The stops and stretchy scratches on some tormented string instrument reflect the lyrical content. “Everyone is beautiful, but I am not...” There is surely a broken life behind those lines. And is that a child crying out at the end? Check out the video. It’s as chilling as the song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXU5n8Dc38M).
‘521’ starts off with a drum beat like Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Letting you’ from the Slip and morphs into a more subdued Alice in Chains-ish rock off. The meaning of “521’s what I’ve become is lost on me”. All I can reason is the protagonist has become nameless. It will take me a few more listens, but I’ll get there. And there will be more listens.
‘Scars’ is an applauded crowd favourite on Kieran’s ReverbNation page. There are much happier tones coming out of the guitar this time... at first. “I’m not used to being happy and alive.” I’d be excited to hear a full band rendition of this song; the transition between the light acoustic guitar and the heavy distortion would be the creator of bone shivers.
Now, I’m not here to plead with you. I’m just making the suggestion that if you download this album, give it a chance, your life will be better. Maybe this rut I’m in makes me susceptible to emotional connections with music I feel I can truly relate to, or maybe this is one of those rare records with some hidden quality that can reach beyond the corporeal and grasp a person’s soul. Maybe it’s just me.
From his soon to be released single and EP, expect rich vocal harmonies and guitar work reminiscent of Elliott Smith, Kristin Hersh and Iron & Wine.