Swiss post-rockers Kovlo have quietly released two albums over their career, beginning with their debut A new position for the second degree burn in 2005 and followed up with I’m so happy on this boat in 2007. For a band that has (rather unfortunately) seen as little notice on the world stage as they have, they’ve actually done a very good job releasing somewhat solid material, even if it has been sparsely spread.
The thing with Kovlo on their newest album, Hey Mom, where’s Timbuktu?, is that they really aren’t breaking any new ground—they still sound basically like a blend of the better parts of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, and they haven’t changed much at all as a band. They’re still playing instrumental post-rock done capably well, and not much else beyond that. If you’re looking for innovation, Kovlo really aren’t bringing anything to the table that hasn’t been done several times before.
Their songwriting, while generally strong, is unfortunately somewhat bland. On first listen, none of the pieces particularly stand out amongst the others. Well, okay, that’s sort of a lie. The sound clip that gets repeated at the beginning of “Hebron” is the most annoying thing I have ever heard on an album. “Blenheim” is also just a bit kitschy. But what I'm getting at is that you really have to hunt for your enjoyment on this album. “Rovaniemi” actually has some very enjoyable moments that echo the sound of sleepmakeswaves, making it one of the stronger pieces on the album. “Quijing” has some pretty dirty riffing in it as well, approaching Long Distance Calling in terms of its grunginess. Though it does have its few moments, the album still doesn’t carry that much weight. It really does feel like it all just mushes together after a while.
Hey Mom, where’s Timbuktu? is an okay album all-around. It isn’t quite up to par with the classics of post-rock like The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place or Mogwai Young Team, but it shows that Kovlo are well on their way there. I really do believe that we can expect a high-quality release from these guys in the near future. If you’re just looking for some new post-rock to tide you over until the next Sigur Rós album hits, then you could do worse. If you’re a snob who isn’t going to listen to an album unless it’s at least as intricately composed as F?A?∞, then you can pass on this one.
5.0 / 10
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