Album of the Week (and probably the year): Kazyak – Odyssey

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2019 in Music |

We’ve heard a lot of albums so far this year, but few, if any have taken our breath away quite like Odyssey by Minneapolis’ Kazyak. Cinematic, celestial and deeply impacting from start to finish, Odyssey is as its name suggests an epic adventure with a grandiose scale. Channeling the likes of Radiohead, My Morning Jacket and Explosions in the Sky, Odyssey reaches for the heavens from the very first note and ultimately succeeds in every sense of the word.

Album opener “Contravertical” is a panoramic leap towards the stratosphere, while “Discover” is enveloping, titanic and utterly serene. If the video above gives you chills (and we are certain it will), then this is the album for you. According to principal songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Pete Frey Odyssey is a concept album of sorts that tackles ideas about searching, discovery and the complexity of the cosmos. Inspired by adventures Frey took in Patagonia and Joseph Campbell’s book The Power of Myth, this is an album that is colossal in scope, deeply indelible in its impact and absolutely deserving of a wider audience.

Though every song on Odyssey is a gem, other highlights include the spaced out slacker jam “Camouflage,” a knuckle-tightening tour-de-force that finds Frey at both his most vulnerable and most transparent levels. On the opposite end of the spectrum “Zombie Dream” is a slow-moving study awash in dreamy atmospherics that draws on a bed of layered synths and arguably the album’s best chorus. But for all the highlights, few songs have moved us quite like “Paper Bird.” Much like its name suggests this is a song that has gravity, lift and some of the most exciting five-plus minutes we have heard in quite some time. Like much of the album “Paper Bird” has a prayer-like serenity that is profound, lasting and well worth repeated listens.

Since their inception Kazyak has always been somewhat forward-thinking. Fueled by a strong attention to detail and nuanced guitar work they have crafted a fantastic discography. Despite their top-tier talent most of their albums has gone criminally unnoticed. That should change with Odyssey, which dropped last month and is steadily gaining steam around the blogosphere.

Easily their strongest album to date, Odyssey is very much a high-water mark for both the band and for music in 2019. While much of the public consciousness continues to flood towards hip-hop and EDM, Odyssey is veritable proof that there are few things as powerful as yearning vocals, soaring guitars and a locked-in rhythm section. No albums are ever perfect, but Odyssey sure feels damn close.

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