There’s something wilfully obstinate – and remarkably likeable about Kali Masi’s scattergun approach to punk rock.
In fact, it’s decidedly difficult to pin the Chicago group’s sound down, besides saying that they’re damn good at whatever they turn their hand to. Instead, ‘Wind Instrument’ serves as an appropriate snapshot of what punk music, in its broadest sense, means to so many in 2017.
Heartfelt but not saccharine, there’s a hard-edge to ‘Wind Instrument’ that recalls Hot Water Music at their most melodic (sans bottom-of-the-barrel vocals), or Gaslight Anthem without the Americana. And while this broadly encapsulates Kali Masi’s sound, the Chicagoan’s use it as a launchpad to strike off into numerous thrilling tangents.
Instead, cuts like ‘Powerline Days’> and ‘Lunger’ charge through stop-start riffs and wordy lyricism that recalls Into It Over It or The Progress, drawing in disparate influences and textures to add layers to the group’s sound. Combined with the pulsating rock’n’roll of ‘Jejune’ and outstanding ‘C.A.’, it makes for a dizzying and engaging listen.
To Kali Masi’s credit it all hangs together perfectly, marrying emo’s soft textures, the crunch of classic late 90s melodic hardcore and blue-collar rock’n’roll with gusto and skill. It’s familiar, but not overly so, and there are enough exciting diversions that ‘Wind Instrument’ never covers the same ground as those that influenced it.
The result is an album that sits apart from both its contemporaries and what has gone before. It possesses lyrical depth – especially in the moments where there is room to breathe ‘Ghost (The Pottery Scene)’ and the aforementioned ‘Lunger’ are both exceptional) – but it’s Kali Masi’s musicality – and the ability to switch things up – that is the real star of the show.
‘Wind Instrument ’ by Kali Masi is out now on Take This To Heart Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)