In 2013, Henry Kohen shocked a lot of people by producing some insanely smart guitar riffs layered upon themselves, all to form some sort of rad as all hell noise meets punk rock masterpiece. Under the guise of his musical project’s name, Mylets, the very young Kohen had released an album by the name of “Retcon.” Ever so slightly older, and very much wiser, Kohen has done it again with a new album: Arizona. The name Mylets remains fresh –for his second full length, it seems as if Kohen is experimenting a little. Arizona packs the same intricate and explosive guitar work that put Mylets on the map, while occasionally including what seems to be more genuine if not more emotionally blunt lyrics.
The album opens up heavy and almost industrial-like. “Trembling Hands,” while not typical sounding for Mylets (nor the album), acts perfectly as a precursor of everything to come. The distortion of the guitar, mixed with oscillating layers and the intensity of Kohen’s voice are almost overwhelming. The fast, harsh, yet very meticulous and distinctive style is back and Kohen wastes no time announcing it. From the start, Arizona is absolutely gnarly.
Layers and layers fueled by loop pedals and more pedals and an endless onslaught of creative power. If you’ve never listened to Mylets, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m on about and why Kohen is getting so much high praise. Before we delve any deeper into examining Arizona, let’s talk Mylets’ incredible style. Kohen is a one man act, he crafts every melody himself. What’s really neat here is just how complex these tunes are for a single guy to make. A single track may bring you more than five layers of texture. Let’s go a step further. Kohen utilizes a series of riffs where notes leap about wildly. While the distortion brings some noisy vibes, the rest is all musical genius. Even if Mylets was actually a secret project of the worlds best thirty musicians, it still sounds great. As a solo musician, Kohen is a prodigy.
Getting back on track, Arizona features several great tracks, including a longstanding tune by the name of “Ampersand.” Hearing the song come back is arguably nostalgic for long time Mylets fans. It’s a perfect example of how Kohen has let his style grow, while still carrying the basics along with it. “Ampersand” is rightfully familiar while still somehow uniquely fresh. Meanwhile, a newer track, “King Sleep,” stands out as an interesting interlude built within Arizona. The song starts with a repetitious melody, paired with a few heavy chords. Suddenly, it bursts into a full on bash of drums and a harshly distorted guitar line. The main riff that cues in is absolutely great and a nice break from some of the album’s earlier heavy tunes. Finally, as Arizona comes to an end, Kohen himself eases up. “Shark,” the closing track, hits the ball out of the park and finishes things off just right. The song starts off as a break from the incredibly powerful guitar lines and distortion. The drums are simple, the everlasting and repeating guitar line that carries the song forward is mellowdramatic by all means. To hear Kohen sing in such a solemn way is astonishing. All in all, “Shark” is the icing on the cake.
Admittedly, Arizona may be hard to like at first. Mylets fans may have a bit to get used to, Kohen has definitely changed things up a bit. Comparatively, Mylet’s first album, Retcon, was easily more interesting than Arizona. At the same time, Arizona just seems so much more enjoyable. Once you break from the expectations, Kohen will work his magic on you again –and that’s it, you fall in love with his music all over again.
With all that said, Mylets has not failed to disappoint. Arizona is absolutely awesome. Fan of Kohen from the start or just someone looking for some new ‘hardcore’ music, this isn’t something you want to miss. Sargent House ought to consider themselves lucky working with Kohen –Mylets is really something else.