Album Review: Kordan – The Longing (2011 LP)

You may not have heard of Kordan, but something tells me they will soon be topping ‘next big thing’ lists. After all, this is the band who were handpicked by Australia’s Cut Copy in 2008 as opening act for their North American tour on the strength of their debut EP.

Emerging from Puerto Rico’s burgeoning rave and indie dance scene in the early 2000s, the band soon found themselves sitting comfortably in the buzzing Brooklyn music scene. According to singer and guitarist Arthur Eisle, the band’s influences range from the hidden, lush melodies of Debussy and Ravel, to legendary acts like My Bloody Valentine, the eerie and beautiful sounds of Vangelis (who composed the Bladerunner soundtrack) to more recent acts like Ladytron and Washed Out. Their music takes the subtly driving accents of indie-rave, combines it with the dense noise of shoegaze-inspired guitars and mixes it with dreamy vocals. It’s the now-familiar meeting of rock and electronica, old and new ideas, minus the cheese – and the result is surprisingly cohesive and effective.

“Dawn” is an impressive album opener, combining charging beats with futuristic sounding guitars on full, almost indistinguishable distortion and fuzzy bass. The sparser, more jangly-guitar driven “Shinjuku” reflects the Eisle’s obsession with the the metropolis of Japan (Tokyo Tears is another nod to the futuristic vibe of the city). But it’s the track “Mirror” which shines the brightest on this album – a lovely synthesised arpeggio underpins the song and leads into five minutes of the album’s most standout, evocative track. But despite their electronic influences, it’s the shoegaze sounds that take a front seat on The Longing, and tracks like “Fantasy Nation” and “Closer” would not sound out of place on a Pains of Being Pure At Heart album.

The Longing is a beautifully crafted body of work with some impressive moments, but it has a tendency to sound rather samey after awhile, and some melodies and hooks get lost in the wash of noise. Still Kordan are young, and there’s plenty of room to grow beyond this otherwise impressive debut album.

Review score: 7/10