It’s difficult to find bands in today’s rock landscape that deliver a grandiosity in their sound. One may go through the endless filler of the internet, finding music that may not stretch past the boundaries of a certain genre. The forward-thinking Kamikaze Nurse works to eradicate that sentiment. Led by artist / curator / filmmaker KC Wei, Bucky Fleur offer a fresh take on shoegaze, noise rock, art-punk and dream pop, all exhibited in stellar quality — an album with range.
One of the stand out features on this record is the vibrant production, where dissonant chords illuminate in cacophonous euphoria. Ethan Reyes and Wei’s guitar hooks beam like distorted lasers as John Brennan’s perpetual drum blasts serve to disembowel, all while frontperson KC Wei’s warm vocals provide a comfort in the chaos. The music itself feels grand in scope in a way that Sonic Youth imposed themselves on Daydream Nation. On “Sophie’s Dad,” “Dead Meat,” and “Weeping Bone,” drum rolls and guitar crescendos signal an intensity that threatens to break the stage. There’s a weight to the way each band member plays their instruments. The appropriately afflicting out of tune riffs are played like hammered sheets of metal yet make an impression that these are proficient musicians at work. The only sense of stability contained in these songs is Sonya Eui’s bass which drive songs forward. On the end of a track like “So Blue,” guitars and drums become uninhibited as the bass’s rhythm remains steadfast.
As a vocalist, Wei might channel her influence from Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, whose unique vocal delivery operates to hypnotize one’s consciousness. A song like “Sun Song” showcases that influence, where Wei brings an ethereality in her “oohs” all the while slogging out an unrestrained whirlwind of shoegaze-y guitar. Not to mention her penetrating screams on songs like “Sacred Cow Hot Dog” and “DDD + KNurse” would definitely impress a punk or hardcore crowd. Lyrically, she explores dreams (“Darkening mysteries down from the sky / Passing by little eyes how many years”), and probes into the existential (“Unnatural feeling / You so boring to me / Impossible to feel, if I peel, would you heal?”). Guitarist Ethan Reyes even contributes Thurston Moore-esque schizophrenic abstractions that boggle the mind on “Blue Garlic Man.”
In the end, Kamikaze Nurse delivers an excellent debut that pays tribute to its influences all the while feeling novel and genre-breaking. In hopes to find innovative rock music, Bucky Fleur demands that attention.