Album Review: Mayfair Kytes ‘Animus’
Melbournian 6-piece Mayfair Kytes have forayed into so many different genres with their debut album ‘Animus’ that it has been likened to a film score. The album is a tasteful first effort from this cluster of talented musicians with a touch of Middle Eastern pop, a pinch of electronica, and a strong dose of psychedelic, harmonic vocals.
There are so many subtle nuances in the intricate composition of opening track Seasonal Thaw that you’ll find something new to appreciate each time you listen to it. The track builds and resolves tension with ease, blending smooth orchestral instruments, syncopated piano, a sauntering drum rhythm, and complex 60s-style vocal harmonies. The xylophone finishes it off with an injection of childhood nostalgia, and the sudden ending will leave you so confused that you’ll have no choice but to hit replay.
Title track Animus is like the soundtrack to a mid-week fever dream.
Title track Animus is like the soundtrack to a mid-week fever dream. It starts with a mixture of light rhythmic percussion, brassy synth, and guitar. A key change brings a brand new sound to introduce the verses, complete with off-balance chord progression and heavily-tactile sweeping and tapping percussion. From there, the song is in a state of constant fluctuation and filled with unexpected changes – the band even throws in a dose of synth-affected organ to finish things off.
The aptly-named Sequence moves in so many different directions at a moments notice that it’s impossible to predict the next move. A cinematic acappella start develops into a textural pulsing vocal base with a waltz-like rhythm. Every note shows off frontman Matt Kelly’s incredible ability to sing beyond the comfortable realm of the key. The track culminates in a final faultless acappella section.
For all those who don’t have time to leave their desk let alone take a holiday, Lazybones offers a short discourse from your daily routine.
For all those who don’t have time to leave their desk let alone take a holiday, Lazybones offers a short discourse from your daily routine. The song is filled with abrasive clashing chords that seem wrong until their resolution brings a beautiful sense of clarity. The transitions between tensive and resolutive chords might leave you feeling confused, but the final major chord leaves no lingering question unanswered.
Flowing straight on from Lazybones, Sleepyhead builds on its complex melody and twists it into a soft-rock number, pairing expressive lead vocals with 60s-style vocal harmonies. The verses might have you feeling sleepy, but the chorus will catch you off-guard with a faster rhythm, thrashing guitar, and crashing drums. Violins contrast beautifully against the guitar in the final minutes, contributing a smooth, expressive element to the piece.
The myriad of elements in Morning Star are like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – they probably shouldn’t go together, but somehow the combination works. After a slow start with drip-like sound effects, a Middle Eastern dance melody changes things up, paired with short xylophone notes and a relentless galloping rhythm. In the chorus, the track morphs into a pop ballad with a pulsing piano base and clean vocal harmonies.
The opening lines of Felonious Rift are a psychedelic tapestry of synth threads and affected vocals.
In Flashlight, soft, clean synth paves the way for an irresistibly simple guitar melody and syncopated percussion. The song takes those dreamy Beach Boys-style vocals and mixes in a few curveballs to keep you on your toes. Warm piano chords in the chorus resolve the verse’s complex vocal and instrumental harmonic clashes, and a trumpet solo later comes as an unexpected addition to the bridge.
The opening lines of Felonious Rift are a psychedelic tapestry of synth threads and affected vocals. With its intricate guitar rhythms and a catchy percussive rhythm, this track could almost pass for a pop song, but the unique, clashing vocal harmonies maintain a sense of abnormality. It finishes softly, the band playing the same final line several times over as though to float the listener back down to earth. If you need an extra four minutes of solace injected in to your day, get this on your playlist.
Mayfair Kytes’ debut album is just a taste of what’s to come from this eclectic Melbournian outfit. ‘Animus’ is due for release on Friday 1 April.
Mayfair Kytes ‘Animus’ Album Launch Dates
FRI 8 APR
The Workers Club, Melbourne
THU 28 APR
The Vanguard, Sydney