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I hear the city lights

06/09/2010
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If you lived in the Scandinavian/Nordic region around the early 00’s, you might remember Kashmir. If my information peeled from fuzzy memories of watching MTV’s Nordic top 20 is at all correct, “Rocket Brothers” was a small hit in the region. Checking Wikipedia tells me that Zitilites  as a whole was a fairly huge hit in the band’s native Denmark, but at least in Finland it was a small blip in the radar and I assume for most of the world they didn’t register at all (although they must’ve done something right as they got Lou Reed and David Bowie to feature on the follow-up album).

This isn’t going to be a “Flinty lectures about a lost diamond unbeknownst to the world” sort of review. I wouldn’t call Zitilites a diamond, really. It manages to do things right but so far I’ve had no interest in checking anything else by the band. Their sound isn’t really their own: you can draw pretty heavy Radiohead comparisons from the music to the singing to the lyrics, and by proxy we’re treading in the distressed and depressed rock music territory that many have tread before with similar success. But not everything can be a diamond, and you can find enjoyment in other rocks as well. Zitilites is more like that really nifty looking souvenir stone you found in your travels and which has found its place in your home: it may not be worth much anything but it feels special to you and your home wouldn’t be the same without it because you just like it that much.

Basically, Zitilites is a bunch of really good songs arranged into a really well flowing unit. Kashmir masters the two important musical elements that bands like these often rely on: a melancholy intensity that fuels the more mid-tempo and energetic moments, and the weary textured atmosphere that powers the slower moments. In particular the latter category offers the best parts of Zitilites: especially “The Aftermath” that offers a bittersweet cuddle of defeatist comfort and “Petite Machine” which starts with the most blissfully pretty guitar that jangles out of nowhere in the empty space and then continues to weave its beautiful melody throughout the ache of the rest of the four and a half minutes. Not that moments like e.g. “Melpomene”, “Ramparts” or indeed “Rocket Brothers” (the video of which is one of my favourite animated videos) pale much in comparison.

Why it doesn’t go that extra mile and turn into something that would steer me towards new musical discoveries, I can’t say. On the top of my head it’s hard to pick any flaws on Zitilites and if I started thinking about it, I’d start nitpicking on small but ultimately irrelevant matters. What Zitilites is is a very good album which everyone who likes their rock music strung-out and mopey should turn their heads to. You may not unearth the Kohinoor but you’ll get something that is most definitely very enjoyable.

Zitilites on Spotify


Rocket Brothers

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