Showcases are notoriously odd affairs. Young eager pups perform to crowd of pals and industry onlookers can make for a stilted affair. Indeed it’s a resolutely old school approach that tends not to be the norm these days. But with it increasingly hard to get audiences and industry attention, it does help in terms of profile. After all, we’re writing about KOYO today on the back of last night’s affair. How many Prog readers would take a chance on a hitherto unknown act?
It of course helps that we’ve been aware of this Leeds-based quintet for a while. An early sampler showed promise that’s been followed up by the band’s self-titled debut that’s coming later in the year. And you can read more about the band in the next issue of Prog.
Forgoing any attempt at audience interaction, the band launch into Strange Bird In The Sky. It’s a fulsome sound, thanks to Amorphis/Paradise Lost producer Simon Efemey, manning the mixing desk, and one that shimmers from the off, lead singer and guitarist Huw Edwards adding a delightful Yes-like guitar run to the song’s climax.Their’s is a sound that mixes touches of prog, post-rock, shoegaze and psychedelia into an engaging mix, and as the likes of Jettisoned (from the aforementioned sampler we heard) and Ray Of Sunshine the quality of their songwriting is more than evident, melody matching musical ambition at every turn.
What Is Mine lowers the tempo slightly but KOYO are back to full speed with the epic closer, Tetrochromat, a two-parter you can find on the CD with the current issue of Prog. As part one’s words give way to part two’s vaulting ambition the band turn in on themselves, locked into a tight prog out that would draw nodding approval from the most hardened progger. They certainly draw warm applause from the gathered throng.
There’s enough early Tame Impala psych on show to appeal to a hip young crowd, but equally an evident fondness for the sweeping grandiosity of Pink Floyd to appeal to an older prog audience as well. KOYO are easily one of the brightest young prospects the genre has thrown up in quite a while. Watch this space…
You can find out more at the band’s website.