When it comes to music, I tend to like beats and melodies that put a spring in my step and a smile on my face. That’s not to say I dislike anything mellow, quiet, or dramatic. I’d like to think that I can appreciate all kinds of music. So, when Punk Cathedral by The Kiss That Took A Trip, a one-man band formed by M.D. Trello back in 2006, was submitted to ARTpublika Magazine for review, I wanted to approach it with an open mind. Though the band’s latest album (released on June 6th) is interesting, it’s also not something I would have ever discovered for myself.
It’s hard to say exactly what kind of album Punk Cathedral is. Trello is vehemently against categorizing it as electronic music, even though it’s built “for the most part, using computers and synthetic sounds.” I suppose ambient post-rock is one way to describe it, and trippy and unpredictable would be another. “Ambient Punk,” for example, starts off with a clip of Rodney King speaking. His voice is broken and full of apprehensive concern as he pleads with the public to “stop making it horrible for older people and the kids.” Immediately, I am invested in the track, but also worried that it could be something very sad or off-putting. But, it’s not.
He stops speaking after only a few seconds; percussion over progressive meditation music comes in shortly thereafter. It's followed by guitar embellishments that gently fade and in out, which normalizes the overall effect, making it less alarming and a lot more inviting. Then, pleasant melodies “fill” the “ambiance” with harmonies. It gets edgier towards the end, but never crosses into aggressive territory. And, just as I give up on hearing any vocals, a voice (Trello's ?) comes through – for just a little while. Unexpected moments like this seem to happen on a lot of tracks.
But there are other kids of songs as well. “Dry Swallowed Pill” is one of my favorites because the music does not have any kind of prelude or sound effects, like the bells on “Stabbing Porcelain.” It’s mellow very reminiscent of Magnetic Fields in vocal style, and perhaps musically as well. It’s also a lot more lyrical than many of the others. Similarly, “Crapola” sounds like it could be a Simon and Garfunkel song with a slight punk twist. It’s calm, melodic, and has less electronic-sounding elements than other tracks, which is a good way to create variation overall.
As the 14-track album progresses, Trello’s style, though consistent, seems to be exploring its own range. He believes: “The band has no other aim but to build a consistent and lasting music catalog that can speak to people fed up with quick consumption music and looking for high replay value and a more immersive and personal experience.” And, in the end, I have to agree that that’s exactly what Punk Cathedral is. Learn more about The Kiss That Took A Trip here and stream the album in full here.
Note* Album provided for objective review by our partners.