There is nothing like hearing a girl scream. Laura Pleasants, guitarist for Kylesa, never screeches or wails, but she yells in a way that is so unhinged and guttural it is almost impossible to tell, at times, if it’s the voice of a guy or a girl. Androgyny and psychedelic strangeness are the best parts of Spiral Shadow, the Savannah, Ga., band’s fifth album. Kylesa is headstrong across the record — one that swings widely from anthem rock (“Don’t Look Back”) to borderline sludge (“Forsaken”).
The album is the work of an intelligent, diverse and technical rock band that easily fuses antithetical styles. But there are times when the band just can’t cut it. “Back and Forth” is disjointed. The singsong chorus of “To Forget” is cringe worthy. And the album’s opener, “Tired Climb,” has this snowboard-y/X-Games/ “Click Click Boom” vibe that is just disappointing. In the end, the strongest songs are the ones where they let Pleasants go apeshit.
DOWNLOAD: “Cheating Synergy”