Album Review: Being Waves – Kinkajous

Jazz is a casual musician’s nightmare. Songwriting and performance demand a painstaking mastery of your instrument, recording and production techniques require years to refine, and touring a live setup is a thanklessly expensive ordeal. With a qualitative bar set so unrelentingly high, artists can often be exposed for mediocrity in this field, more so than any other genre. Yet, when acts brave enough to traverse this sonic landscape can successfully execute something unique, it can make for a truly transcendent listening experience.

Enter British band Kinkajous, and their latest album, Being Waves. Released through artist-led label Running Circle and engineered by long-term collaborator Brendan Williams, this 9-track body of work builds upon their 2019 debut album, Hidden Lines in staggering fashion.

From the first splintering drum break and woodwind run on “Convolution”, it’s no surprise the band is led by drummer/producer, Benoît Parmentier and saxophonist/clarinetist, Adrien Cau—a pairing that feels like the love child of percussion icon, Shigeto and sax savant, Kamasi Washington.  

While tracks like “Cloaks” and “The Eyes” showcase twinkling keys, rich analogue synths, and soaring string sections that feel like they’ve been plucked straight from a Leon Vynehall or Radiohead record, it’s sparse moments on songs like “NOOMS”, “A Quiet Chaos” and “Those Real” that speak to the diverse, introspective depth this album offers.  

Each song on Being Waves presents genuine worldbuilding prowess, chasms of instrumental soundscapes that tell poignant audible stories with Parmentier and Cau hoping to challenge audience preconceptions and encourage each listener to contemplate their own reality.

Commercial success notwithstanding, Kinkajous feel destined for the kind of lasting success that circumvents trend, constructing a truly timeless sound that will undeniably flourish for decades to come.

Follow Kinkajous on Instagram.

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