KOJ aren’t chasing any trends at all. Maybe that’s why Home is one of the finest dark indie pop albums that you’ll be able to find these days.

Release date: August 21, 2020 | Long Branch Records | Facebook | Instagram | Website

It’s hard to find the perfect bandmates, as bands often are best friends and feel like a second family. But in the case of KOJ, there’s more than this. The trio is basically one family – blood-wise – as they are two brothers and a married couple. That being said, it’s obvious they know each other quite well and are able to offer you one of the deepest, and most intimate records I’ve listened to in 2020. The balance and connection between every aspect of KOJ’s music shows how familiar the sound of Home is.

Netflix aesthetics & sadness

Let’s take a closer look at some songs off this record and see what Home sounds like in detail. First off, “Stars” is a very fragile, well-balanced song that comes with minimalistic instrumentation. The song clearly centers around the vocals, while soft guitar melodies add light layers. As soon as the chorus of “Stars” starts, the band also reveals a poppy synth-rock sound amid an overwhelming atmosphere.

The whole feeling of KOJ’s music has an aural vibe that might fit into many Netflix productions. Similar to the opening theme of Dark, the band’s sound is gloomy and has these special aesthetics to it – based on how well-balanced the instruments sound.

There’s a lot of little details, especially within the very synth-driven song “Pamela”. This track has a very pulsating vibe and starts with smooth synths which first fade in, only to fade out again. This creates a very warm feeling which stands in contrast to the cold and melancholic vibe that lies within “Pamela”. All things considered, the track has a very calm, relaxing mood, which is almost similarly effective to deep house tunes. These deep house-esque tunes are found on several tracks of Home and perfectly match with the musical idea of KOJ’s music.

In fact, there are many different facets to this album. But if there’s something that ties all tracks together, it’s the feeling of sadness. Home is probably one of the most depressive albums I’ve listened to in quite a while. These sad feelings are covered in dark shadows full of bass, synth-driven fog, and clouds of epic strings on “Human Love”. But on top of this, there are some slightly jazzy elements which appear on the rather experimental songs like “Jenny” and “Scarlett”.

Rocky moments

The moments when KOJ touch rock music are rare. When they do, they reveal a strong desert rock feeling with short licks – as on “Home” and “Thunder”. The latter is probably the catchiest track on the whole record. The song lives through ongoing drum beats, which create a bouncy pulse. Accompanied by the guitar, KOJ paint a picturesque scene, which sounds like the soundtrack of a Western movie from the 1970s. But the most intriguing fact about “Thunder” is that it isn’t dark, depressive, or melancholic at all. The track sounds incredibly uplifting, even motivating in contrast to almost every song on this album.

KOJ already showed that their music lives through contrasts and continue to do so. “Unscarred” is another special song and shows a totally different musical world. The song’s chorus reminds of label mates in Agent Fresco, due to its rhythmic elements. There’s a strong prog rock side on this track, which brings in great diversity. The song’s ending gets even darker than the previous tracks and shows its ugly face similar to the outro of a sinister, disturbing horror movie directed by someone like James Wan. This ending cuts deep and might affect faint-hearted listeners easily.

Two-faced

Home has two faces. On one side it’s a great album that could easily find its listeners. On the other side, it’s such a dense, sombre, and deeply woven experience, which definitely isn’t for everybody. KOJ prove that their musical vision isn’t about writing 2020’s summer hits. Their musical output is so much worthier than most of the chart-toppers nowadays, and I think this is what makes Home such an incredible album. The deciding factor is that KOJ sound so much more natural, much more close – and these things considered – so much more authentic than other bands.

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