Big and Beautiful
There may not exist speakers powerful enough to project the fury contained within Estonian-born Kye Kye’s sophomore LP, Fantasize. That’s not to say it’s full of violent, noisy, attacking songs; it’s not. Singer/gutarist Olga Yagolnikov has a perfectly sweet, wispy voice, reminiscent of Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins but more coherent, but the atmospheric music behind her is big and full and wonderfully supportive and it makes you wish you had a full 500 watt sound system at your disposal to catch the full effect.
Currently based in Camas, Washington, this trio of siblings (plus one additional member) has put together a dozen tracks full of reachable melodies backed by arrangements that could be offputtingly daring if not for Yagolnikov’s perfect voice. “I Already See It” opens the album with some breathy synths followed by huge drums, calmed by the singer’s reassuring delivery. “Honest Affection” begins similarly, with an arpeggiated keyboard riff. The song itself, however, is strong enough that it would be just as good if backed by an acoustic guitar. “Scared or Selfish” has a pure pop hook in its refrain, and at this point one starts to wonder if the extra decoration is necessary — if Kye Kye wouldn’t have been better suited to keep it simple. But it is the juxtaposition of Yagolnikov’s serene voice and the band’s powerful but not aggressive sound that sets them apart.
There are times on Fantasize where Yagolnikov tries a little too hard to make her melodies interesting. This is unnecessary; her tool is pure and works best when it sounds natural. There are other times, like on “Hiding Place,” where the melodies are a little too simple as if she is worried about getting lost in the music. She needn’t worry; when Fantasize works, which is does most of the time, it works because even though there’s so much going on, it sounds raw and organic.