Some music is about revolution, kicking down the barricades and sticking a finger up at the musical status quo, some is about evolution, moving the genre on in a sensible and controlled fashion. Kikamora are definitely the latter. Nothing wrong with that and like most evolutions you can see exactly where it has come from, the generic path it has taken to get to this new place.
Classic rock structures certainly lie at the heart of the music and it is tempered with some Seattle vibes, not the scary underground stuff but the more deft and melodic end of things, a tad less Tad and a bit more Pearl Jam. The subtle musical weaves that wind through the dynamic builds of Methadream tick a lot of the same boxes, but again why not, if it was good first time around why not tip your hat to it.
And if Suffer Unto Me takes that slow-burning, dark and atmospheric vibe to one extreme, songs such as Pest quickly remind you that this is a band whose Modus Operandi is simple and “let’s rock out” is pretty much all it says in the user manual. And even though they do that in tried and tested style, expertly throwing the required shapes and firing off incendiary classic rock salvos, the final song of the album, Half Rats shows just how clever the band can be. Yes, it rocks, but it does so with a boozy, bluesy r&b swagger, honky-tonk pianos pound away and a sultry saxophone add a massive does of sass. We have moved from the musical language of the arenas to that of a back street, after hours, blues club jam. This band ain’t no one trick pony.
Kikamora may just be the current saviours of rock and roll. There is a lot that is familiar here but they wander through the styles enough to offer diversity and they twist those recognisable rock structures into interesting new architecture. Most revolutions don’t work because they blow themselves out or create an alternative too fragile and fractious to offer any longevity. Kikamora work because they move forward slowly, subverting comfort zones and creeping across generic boundaries so skilfully that it barely raises the alarm. It isn’t until you turn round and look behind you that you realise the extent of the journey they have brought you on. It doesn’t hurt that they also do it much better than 99% of the competition.