ALBUM REVIEW: The Kite String Tangle – ‘C()DEX’

Words by Emily Hollitt

Beginning with deep throat sounds, throbbing bass and a mixture of mechanical and otherworldly sounds, The Kite String Tangle’s latest album ‘C()DEX’ is another excellent contribution to an already wildly successful career. The songs are not so much something to listen to, but an experience within itself- transforming the listener into what feels like a whole other world; a listening experience unmatched by any of his previous work. The growth in the producer’s already sophisticated production chops is evident right from the start of the title track which opens the album, C()DEX, setting the foundations of the deep synths and dark dream-like soundscapes found throughout the rest of the record. P()LAR follows, mixing in his signature for creating highly emotional vulnerable tracks and capturing them between entrancing production. 

“I’m strong enough but I still need your love. Tell me that you want me to stay. I had it figured out but I’m wiser now. You’ll always be the one that got away”

These down-pitched, semi-distorted vocals are delivered in an almost desperate, pleading tone, sung over fast-paced drums symbolising the increased speed of the heartbeat felt in this vulnerable moment, aiding in expressing the emotion of the lyric. The music softens in the verses as the lyrics reflect Kite String’s Danny Harley pleads for a second chance at his relationship, making the chorus feel more present and the verses feel more melancholic. Ethereal single NORTH echoes the same notion of unashamed vulnerability, working as an ode to someone he loves. “You fill my lungs, un-break my bones, steal the darkness from the night” he sings, singing as though this person saves him in a way, keeps him grounded, happy, fulfilled. This idea of being ‘saved’ is reflected through the song’s production, using choir-like vocals each chorus to sing “Put your loving arms around me” as he sings “I need you now”, as if being embraced by this person is a soulful, religious experience. 

Similarly reflecting yet also rejecting these religious themes sits the third track of the album NINON DE L’ENCLOS. Named after French courtesan who was also an author and patron of the arts, she was most famously known for being a prostitute for the rich as a means of being financially independent. Her most notorious views surrounded her core beliefs that religion was an invention thus solidifying her ideals to never marry. This contradicts Harley’s main repeated lyrics in the song, namely the line “And I threw myself right to you”, signifying that he was wholeheartedly invested in the relationship. “Because you’re in my head, tell me this won’t end” he repeats at the end of the song, confirming his fears about throwing himself into the relationship. It can be presumed the object of his affection does not share these feelings due to the deep distorted way the courtesan’s name is repeatedly delivered in the hook, using her as a symbol to contradict his feelings. The distorted sound of the delivery darkens the track and replicates the feelings of unreciprocated love. This continues a theme throughout the album of Harley presumedly wanting someone he can’t have or wants a second chance with.

1.618 is named after the Greek mathematical term ‘Phi’, also known as a the ‘Golden Ratio’. An object is defined as having this ratio if two quantities’ ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. The Greek’s who founded the term often cite this as being present in all objects, and it is particularly used to quantize human facial attractiveness. This instrumental track and it’s title reflects the core narrative of the album further, projecting this numerical value of perfection onto the partner he idolises, signifying how he views her. Killing Time portrays the best parts of a relationship. Featuring Elliot, the song’s key line “I get lighter with you” is one of the most pure, innocent portrayals of love- with the track simply covering killing time with someone, turning mundane moments int something beautiful. The female voice on the track helps personify the other person spoken about so regularly on the album, specifically because this track sits so early on into the album before the relationships presumed downfall. 

Landslide featuring Kate Boy contrasts this, using ghostly female vocals behind Harley’s in the chorus to represent the quick deterioration of the relationship- falling as quickly as the relationship, with the love you once had haunting you. “When gravity means hoping both are satisfied. This is what it feels like, falling in a landslide… Wake me when it’s over” both voices sing as the most of the instrumental drops, drawing the listener in to the heartache behind the words. “When I said I was over you I was kidding myself… All this reminiscing has me wondering, Whatcha’ doin’ now?” he sings in Iris, reflecting on the relationship that has come and gone. 

Kerosene takes a deeper turn on the traditional love song, a track which could be applied to any type of relationship from friends, to family to romantic as he sings in the chorus “It’s all too much, to watch you self-destruct”. With references to ghosts, a continued theme on the album with the line “An apparition told you everything, drinking and distant memories. You were there, you were tethered to reality, heavy and sinking to the sea”, which could signify the object of the song may be struggling with a type of addiction, leaving a ghost of the once-present person. The pain in the chorus speaks about the heartache of wanting to help someone who is not ready to help themselves, a heart-wrenching song towards the end of an already emotional album.

I.S.T.A.U closes the album. Featuring Brisbane’s LANKS, this track follows the end of the relationship, closing the themes and narrative perfectly. “Why wouldn’t you see me one last time?” he sings, signifying a lack of closure. “I still think about you” he repeats in the chorus. 

“You arrived. I saw amongst the faces that wicked smile. Dust covered my eyelid. You’re not the person I once missed on a tired night. I think about the life that you lay aside. What a way to die, kid with a world you left unkissed.”

He sings in the second verse, showing how his feelings towards the person changed yet some details he still remembers so clearly. This is the perfect closer to the album as a whole, circling around themes of the complexity of human emotions and our relationships to other people. It circulates the hunt of perfection and our idolisation and emotions towards others, using dark and cinematic landscapes to further explore these landscapes in a narrative introspective look at the complexities of the human condition. 

You can stream the album HERE

Thanks to Positive Feedback PR

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