Rating: 4 out of 5
Kiwi band Kora are back with their highly anticipated second studio album Light Years; five years since their first self-titled record. Originally hailing from Whakatane, the four brothers Laughton, Francis, Stuart and Brad Kora, along with brother-in-arms Dan McGruer have returned with an offering of ‘alien funk’.
Laughton says, ‘When we began recording the album we started putting pictures of planets and galaxies on the walls of the studio as visual clues for what we wanted to explore. The whole thing with space is that it represents the unknown, and that’s how we feel about our music – we don’t know where we’re going but when we find what we like we stay with it.’
Space, reggae, galaxies and funk… sounds good, but does it work?
Dan says when he thinks about a galaxy, he imagines a sound that’s ‘limitless’, with epic hooks, twinkling synths and huge arpeggiated chords’. You’ll find that on Light Years.
Kora’s distinctive blend of funk, rock, roots, reggae and dub is still there, but with heavier bass and more synth. Combined with smooth four-part vocal harmonies, it’s a testament to their song crafting skills how well Kora manages to blend such a diverse range of music genres and make it come together nicely.
Story Ain’t Over kicks off with a fantastic funky synth beat that will have you wanting to get up and dance; definitely some of Kora’s best work on this album and the standout track. Dream Life‘s catchy chorus and video-game-like synth in the background have already contributed to this being a popular track on radio airwaves. Bring The Sun is a great finisher with a sweeping buildup intro (makes sense when you’re thinking ‘galaxy’…) and smoother dramatic string synth sounds; probably one of the best songs on this album to sing along with.
With a slightly different path venturing into space funk combined with their usual distinctive sound, if you don’t like this one at first it will definitely grow on you. Will be great to see these album tracks played out live. Hardcore Kora fans will be happy with this 11 track offering; pump it loud on your stereo this summer!
For more info on Kora, visit www.kora.co.nz.
Photo / Supplied