Brit lush-rockers Kyte deliver an enticing contrast with their debut single “Planet” and its hypnotic AA-side “Secular Ventures”, as remixed by Mercury Prize Nominee Maps. On both tracks, strangely, this precocious quintet trades in lofty, muscular emo, fueled heavily by the breathy yearning of Nick Mann’s vocals. The trappings, however, are wildly at odds. “Planet”, a safe lead-off for Kyte, has visions of grandiosity. The meticulous buildup of its guitar drizzles, the stuttering swoop of percussion, and the pauses for dramatic emphasis—all this mid-tempo foreplay suggests a climactic payoff simmering in the third act. Kyte balks though, preferring a denser, echo-infused repackaging of the middle section. In the end, “Planet” earnestly dithers instead of decisively ascending.
Maps’ reworking of “Secular Passages” is the fully-realized stunner that “Planet” falls short of. The juxtaposition is unwieldy yet bold, switching from the convention of anthemic rock to panoramic and prickly electronic. “Passages’” spindles of hip-tronic beatwork almost recall Timbaland’s icy futurism, but the ultimate effect isn’t so bloodless. Maps adds layers of metallic sheen, click ‘n clack, and dials which coalesce with emotive urgency. When Mann sings, “They laughed and cried / Never slept / ‘Till the night began”, he simply gives voice to the pulse of “Passages’” meaty heart. This keen attention to feeling and dramatics binds Kyte’s debut release, even as its two tracks masquerade so differently.
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