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  • Jonathan Widran

KAZYAK, Reflection

Peter Frey, the sonic mastermind, singer and songwriter behind the wildly expansive, trippy and dreamlike but also gritty and grounded Twin Cities band Kazyak, has some interesting descriptive words for the group’s first full length album Reflection. It’s “an attempt to create surreal, vivid, Dali-esque images with our sound – it’s a collection of outtakes, demos and b-sides consistent with our history of not trying to be mainstream alternative rock.”

Two comments: If these eight fascinating, cool yet unnerving tunes – which range from the haunting, spacey fuzz trip “Quicksand” and the languid, beat and synth-wash intensive “First Do No Harm” to more musically straightforward, offbeat rocker about the legendary Greek character Androcles – are the outtakes, demos and b-sides, imagine the wealth of strange psychedelic magic they’re yet to unleash. The promo material does its darndest to make apt comparisons – Wilco, Yo La Tango, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan (obviously for the common Minnesota heritage) and Talking Heads, et al, ad nauseum.

Some even call what they do folk, but they’re too sonically adventurous to leave it there. To me, when it comes to a band like Kazyak that is truly progressive rock for the alt rock age, such descriptions are simply ways to attract fans of other artists into a fold that by design defies easy categorizations. It’s better to just float away on Frey’s gossamer filtered falsetto and all the reverbs and kaleidoscope of sonic effects than worry about how they fit into the pantheon. They’re not just pushing the envelope of indie music, they’re tearing it up before it gets to the mailbox for safe delivery.

What’s super interesting to note is that for the past five years, Kazyak has been strictly a studio project, with Frey at the helm recording 2 EPs (one unreleased) and 1 LP (unreleased) in Northeast Minneapolis. But now with the release of Reflection, they’re starting to book full band shows. Hopefully, this lengthier work will create a pent up demand for these unreleased efforts, which you just know are true reflections of weird science rock genius in the making.

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