Lost In Kiev have managed to create a rich dystopian atmosphere with their new album Persona, imbuing the listener with a copious amount of emotions spanning from existential dread to sociological empowerment.
Post-music is having the most wonderful year so far, and adding to the growing ranks of exceptional albums released in the genre this year is Lost In Kiev. The latest record from the French band is called Persona, and like their previous records, it focuses on a cinematic post-rock format. However, unlike their earlier works, Persona features shorter songs – a trait which works especially well considering the story-driven nature of the concept.
The album debuts on April 26 and is being released by the formidable Pelagic Records, adding to their swelling ranks of bands that push out dark, rich soundscapes. Lost In Kiev is no exception to that rule, with Persona delivering a harrowing take on artificial intelligence, conveyed through soaring post-rock riffs, intense samples, and oppressive backing synths.
Opening with the title track of the album, you are instantly bathed in the aforementioned synths, adding futuristic elements to the hopeful, yet forlorn post-rock that builds over time. Instruments are panned nicely across the mix, giving them their own space on the stage. This creates a brilliant listening experience, which sets this record apart from other post bands, who generally blend their instruments into a wall of sound. Not only can you pick out the feedback-laden guitar squeals and enjoy them as a singular entity, you still get that enveloping wall of sound, which really speaks volumes to me.
Due to this, you’ll find songs easier to remember, and the album is therefore much more endearing. “Lifelooper”, the second track is extremely catchy, with a very Germanic Kraftwerk techno vibe to it, thanks to the pumping synths and mechanical vocal samples layered throughout. Tracks like “XM3216” slow things right down in comparison to the earlier stages of the album, and this is where the band begin to dish out the feeling of uneasiness and dystopia in the album. Again, the heavy synth layers help with this immensely. However, one of the true stars of the record is the drums. Throughout the record, they hold a fluid yet robotic feeling, like a well-made android with a clunky AI.
Even after a good few weeks of having Lost In Kiev, I find myself struggling to draw any solid comparisons with other post-rock bands, but the one comparison I really wanted to make, is Toska. Their Fire In The Silos album from last year perfectly captured that feeling of industrial bloom and collapse, and Lost In Kiev manage to do just that too by using similar means. “Pygmalion” features a harrowing sample played over instrumentation, telling of how the companion android cannot replace real human emotion, much in the same way Toska utilized one telling the listener of the problems in their concept. After this track, you feel the music take a darker twist, fully embracing the dystopian vision set out by the band.
I felt that “Pygmalion” amplified the emotional context of the album ten-fold and made me think deeply about the work I do in future-tech and where I should direct my efforts. That feeling of empowerment from a musical piece is fantastic and another reason this wonderful record will be a key feature for me this year. Whilst the album then takes a darker turn as a whole, the next track is packed full of energy and is certainly one of the most striking on the album. “Mindfiles” is the song off the album I’m most keen to see live, due to the exceptional buildup to its finale and the thumping drums that will really get the crowd moving.
Persona is an album you want to devour from start to finish, and the final three tracks do well to pin down your attention until it is over. It works brilliantly as the soundtrack to video games, as you might imagine, and is also a brilliant meditative music as well. I’d say there is a lot of room for fans of synthwave to cross over and enjoy this record, as much as fans of post-metal would. Persona is an exceptional album, offering the listener an accessible roller coaster of emotions. Lost In Kiev should be proud.