This album is fascinating, refreshingly different, and supremely easy to turn up loud and escape entirely to. Kung Fu Jesus, behind the colour and chaos of the artwork and the name, offers a deeply human string of ideas and emotions through the consistently clever use of melody and instrumentation.
Freight Train storms in to your life first of all. This tribal beat, this meandering bass line, and this joyfully melodic, nineties-indie-inspired vocal line, all fuse surprisingly well. The sound is new, and notably well crafted. Great vibes, insanely unique lyrics, a fantastic hook. And so begins the Kung Fu Jesus experience.
The nineties vibe turns into something perhaps a decade earlier than that as Telephonic unfolds. The bouncy yet mellow rhythm, the Depeche Mode inspired melody and vocal style, the first person, conversational lyricism – there’s something distinctly retro and simultaneously unfamiliar about the whole track. It feels like more of an ambient experience than the opener, this swirling world of audio surrounds and stuns you.
The tribal energy of the beats featured on this project becomes something of a signature thread. This, and the creative, adventurous synth riffs. The variable in every case is the subject matter – the leading voice is soaked in reverb, but leveled just so. The lyrics are powerful, and in a way, this distance the voice maintains draws you to focus far more intently, thus resulting in you losing yourself even more so among the sound. Shine a Light is all of this. These songs are hugely provocative, providing the sort of escapism that removes you from your now and quite forcibly places you in some other. The poetic and pondering nature of the lyrics creates an entire world of imaginative and considerate thinking, one that welcomes you with open arms.
Promised Land keeps things relevant yet offers a considerably joyful melody, even touching upon those retro beach vibes that once filled the airwaves. There’s a blissful element of hope to this song. Then you get Red Dragon Eyes, this electronic wave of rhythm and story telling, somehow suggestive of a slight country rock or Western vibe, a Johnny Cash inspired melody and performance, but maybe that’s just me.
Let The Sun Shine is beautifully uplifting. The peaceful and reflective nature of the opening few lines add a blissful new mood to the album, as does the evolving soundscape of sampled, soothing voices. The return to the verse is fantastic, the sheer skill and warmth with which this track has been crafted is incredibly impressive, and the effect of its energy and strength lasts far longer than the length of the song. Contrast is powerful, and in this case the verses and the chorus play such opposite parts that the piece in its entirety feels like a complete yet complex work of art. A definite highlight.
The EDM aura is intricately underlined with Photon, a vast and detailed soundscape, among which these minimal snippets of expression float; as if lost in the ether of an unknown universe, or as if, quite literally, they were a single, lonely photon, soaring through space. KFC brings the pace back down a little, offering up a characterful and soulful song that rises in intensity from verse to chorus, even showcasing a switch in vocal pitch that comes as yet another reason to love Kung Fu Jesus. The energy of this piece has a classic pop feel that fuses well with the soulful sound of the leading voice.
Structurally these tracks are phenomenal. Whenever you approach complacency or attempt to predict what will come next, the whole spectrum of sound is blown wide open. Story Of Four comes through as a seductive and slightly oriental sounding track, with a bright and even motivational progression of chords, and once again – a sensational hook. The strength of the melody here brings a hypnotic level of emotion that completely soaks into you. At over five minutes long, the latter half of the track features a musical journey through the mind of the artist, once more reiterating the fact that these songs have recreated the entire concept of structure.
Super Saiyan is a stunning way to finish. Just as you expect to have experienced all of the highs, this final moment brings back every touch of energy, of passion, of poetry, of world wide influence, and portrays it all by means of this captivating and intriguing song that provokes you to think with intense depth and open-mindedness.
This album is in a league of its own, and not purely for the experimental or creatively free nature of the instrumentation – these songs are amazing. The writing is superb. Download the project via iTunes, Amazon, or stream it on Spotify. Find & follow Kung Fu Jesus on Facebook & Twitter. Look out for the upcoming Kung Fu Jesus game app for IOS & Android. Visit the Rubber Taxi Records Website for more information.