South Wales alternative rock band Kyshera (pronounced K-eye-she-ra) formed in 2005 and describe themselves as "anything that is otherwise indefinable", which does sum up their sound quite well – suitably rock but with an avant-garde streak which can break-out of a track at any point.
The album kicks off with the frenetic 'Terrorists' with it's almost Led Zeppelin like riff coming in strong before James Kennedy jumps in with his vocals. The vocals themselves are a strange mix of sung vocals, (almost) shouty vocals and an ethereal whispering – all of which gives the song an enjoyable, if somewhat disjointed feel, before ending in a peculiar fashion that I've not heard used on a record since Black Sabbath did so in 1970.
Short instrumental 'The Game' carries on the avant-garde feel utilizing some weird guitar effects with an ever quickening drumbeat from Phil Smith until it makes way for the fairly relaxed tones of 'Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll'. Smith shows on this track his prowess at the drum kit, playing a nice offbeat underneath some weird sounding samples before the lackadaisical chorus kicks in.
The acoustic tones of 'Sugar' sound almost Pink Floydian when joined by the electric guitar sound, with Kennedy's vocals sounding crisp and clear with Smith once again proves his worth as a drummer. The track segues nicely into the voices and samples that herald 'Germ' – a song with vocal effects very much to the fore.
Certainly this is one of my favorite tracks on the album, with its funky tunes and the first real chance to hear the final member of the trio, bass player Matt Warr. Deceptively simple as it begins, the track leads us into another world with the band hardly missing a beat – fantastic stuff.
'Shelf Life' is a straight ahead rock song, which flows rather well despite it's strange lyrical content at times, but I don't feel that there's anything here that should prevent the track getting some radio play. 'Mannequins' continues very much in the same vein – it's another funky wee tune which will hopefully be given the chance of some radio play too.
'Superstar' is the band's rallying call against the culture of celebrity that we all live in these days, but there's no vitriol on display here – simply a measured assessment of the situation with some clear, tuneful vocals, solid acoustic guitar and a catchy (if somewhat wordy) chorus. This certainly rates as another of my favourites from the dozen tracks presented here.
'Messiah Mask' returns to the slightly surreal side with some dreamy guitar and echo effects underneath the vocals before some ethereal voice samples that make way for a simple drumbeat before some Beatles-esque harmonies and whispered vocals turn this into a hugely enjoyable track and proves the Kyshera mantra of producing an album "...in a world where anything is possible..."
The title track, 'Made In China', continues the trip into the surreal part of the band's nature with another wordy song, which holds the listeners attention simply by trying to take in all the information coming out from the speakers – no mean feat indeed! Repeated listens of the track only make it more and more enjoyable.
The penultimate track here, 'Burning Witches', continues the dreamy, effects laden tracks with a weird and strangely hypnotic track. With its stop-start tempo and merry-go-round guitar sound, it continues solidly until the album's final (and longest track), 'Ants', takes over.
'Ants' has a solid piano/vocal start accompanied by a very sparse drumbeat and a quiet guitar sound. Kennedy provides some excellent slide guitar on here too, it's just a shame that there wasn't more of it on the rest of the album. So with that finishes a truly brilliant (if somewhat strange) album.
If you're looking for something different the next time you're browsing for a CD or download, then this album could be the very one you're looking for.
Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll
Made In China
James Kennedy – Guitars/Vocals
Matt Warr – Bass
Phil Smith – Drums