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The intensely varied tracks of Kalpana’s debut record, Hors de Combat, find a young band of four alternating vocal and instrumental duties on 50-plus seamlessly flowing minutes of shifting combinations between guitars, keys, buttons, beats, and drums. These form melodies that shift perfectly into chaos, pulling you contentedly along.

Some examples: Kalpana build an atmosphere to its ultimate detonation in “Amber,” spin a disturbing tale in the quiet, refined pop of “Frozen Machines,” bring rumbling rock in “Sic” and “We Have Illegal Weapons ,” bounce the keyboard hook-laden “Save Me” through your skull, allow you to drift along with “Don’t Move,” and tinge some unexpected but fully welcomed metallic fulminations through “34 Stories of Ana Mendieta.”

Keyboards and guitars form either a solid groundwork or a heightened anarchic environment, depending on the song or even the moment. Melodic, beautifully repetitive basslines uproot as the complex drum pattern dreamily fades in and eventually builds to burst. Alternating vocal lines quietly calm or at times pull out into a cathartic guttural scream. Musical twists and reversals that are completely unexpected on first listen become the center of listeners’ attention on subsequent encounters, as they come to love anticipating the inevitable.

Though diverse, the album fits together conclusively into the solid yet manic puzzle of Kalpana, four talented men from the wasteland of Rochester now avoiding stab wounds in Brooklyn and Queens.


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