[sic] Magazine

subtractiveLAD – Kindred

When you’re venturing into the distant reaches of the universe, it’s handy to have polyphonic synthesizers, wibbling arpeggiators and krautrock drums at hand to ward off the perils of infinite boredom. Deploy all of these elements skilfully and you can take listeners on a pretty expansive ride. Ooh look – a quasar!

Take Kindred’s 22-minute opener ‘The Available Light’. It starts off like an episode of Doctor Who , then really heats up once those arpeggiators begin bubbling feverishly. When the krautrock drums kick in, it’s kosmische heaven. Good work, subtractiveLAD . If I was nitpicking I’d say you could have rounded things off nicely after about 13 minutes, but it’s a pretty tasty way to introduce your new album – and had me eager to explore the rest.

‘Hesperus Is Phosphorus’ (great title) brings some chimey guitar lines along for the ride, with each element politely taking turns to throb to the fore. Again, at nearly 15 minutes it outstays its welcome, but there are some lovely passages. Next up, ‘What You See’ is probably the weakest link and reminds me of some of the music made for Commodore 64 games. If that’s your cup of tea, sip away.

Next up, the synthesized strings and reverb-drenched voices in ‘Boy’ are rather gorgeous. And, initially, finale ‘Hello, Goodbye’ almost sounds like pop music! Lovely flute sounds and phased guitars. Yum. However, arpeggios float into the mix and whisk you into an evil crusher of doom. Oh well, space can be unforgiving…

Ultimately, you can forgive subtractiveLAD his more meandering indulgences. When you’re charting a course across such cosmic expanses, it’s excusable to lose your way. While Kindred does prove a challenging listen, especially if you’re trying to make it from one end to the other in a single trip, the colourful new galaxies that you stumble across along the way are spectacularly radiant.