Published Jun 16, 2015Winnipeg's KEN Mode have always been the best kind of disaster: over five albums, (including a Polaris Prize nomination and both a Juno nomination and a win), the trio have wrought vicious, virulent aural destruction. Defined by a complex, world-coming-down sound than combined the hardcore and the metallic, noise and doom, and crystalized by a deep and violent misanthropy, their records have always been dense, complicated, gorgeously ugly things.
For those familiar with the glorious mess that has long been a significant part of KEN Mode's sound, Success will come as a bit of a shock. Recorded by Steve Albini, their latest effort is much leaner and colder, a stripped-down noise-rock album that is still driven forward by the howls of Jesse Matthewson's blistering anger, but much cleaner and more pointed, a lance instead of a wrecking ball. The record is also unquestionably their catchiest, with some of the best hooks and most awfully infectious songwriting of the band's career.
It's clean and tight, with a precision of intent and clarity of vision, even if its cool, calculating feel makes one occasionally long for their bruised and bloodied, messy past. (Season of Mist)