Lately it seems like the musical world has been caught in a loop of sorts; while bands may vary their sounds to some extent, certain instruments and chord progressions are trendier than ever. But then there’s Henry Kohen, or as he’s known as on the musical front, Mylets. His big debut album is called Retcon, and with complete honesty, it’s quite possibly one of the greatest albums of 2013 so far.
So what makes Retcon so good? With a sound partly reminiscent of Jay Reatard or Cap’n Jazz, it’s not hard to understand why it’s receiving so much praise. Mylets is unique however. Just because you sound like one band doesn’t mean you are that band, and Henry Kohen makes sure to make full use of his talent. Each song is carefully constructed and features some complex, math-rocky melodies, a heavy dosage of effect-pedals, and hard hitting vocals (lyrically and then some). On top of that? The guy does it all with some discretion, balancing each piece and making it fit right into its place.
One of the clearest examples of Mylets’ ingenuity is heard in the second track of the album, “Easy 80s.” It starts off with some twinkly guitar melodies playing over one another; a single ‘plink’ is heard alongside a blast of distortion. Then, as the whiney voice of Kohen interjects, the distortion disappears and reappears immediately after, alongside a noisy and excitable guitar riff. The formula is roughly carried on throughout Retcon with some minor change-ups now and then–it works.
If play-by-plays aren’t your thing, Mylets can best be described as a bipolar blast of euphoria and nightmarish agony. If Kohen isn’t luring you in with wild and frantically blissful melodies, he’s tearing into your soul with melancholic riffs and scream-singing that packs a punch. Now maybe the word “scream” puts you off, but Mylets is tasteful.
The fourth track, “Hungover Tehran,” starts over with plucky guitars and builds layer after layer. When Kohen’s voice chimes in, it’s harsh, raspy, and a bit of a scream. It sounds right though. The occasional crack in his voice creates a sense of sincerity you don’t often hear in music. It’s refreshing. When the chorus chimes in, you find yourself practically wanting to sing along to the lines, “You had my heart; you had my home. You had my heart; you had my soul.” Immediately after “Hungover Tehran,” Mylets drops the excitement and plays a droning, high pitched, fuzzy blast of noise that is “Daniel Victory Jones.” But then as the song progresses about halfway through, things become a bit more upbeat, like an anthem to a beach sunset. The short interlude is a great call and shows just how well-designed Retcon is.
Even if Mylets doesn’t seem like your usual listen, give it a shot. Retcon is balanced, composed, genius, emotional, sincere, and just plain awesome. For one Henry Kohen to sit down and write all of this is a miracle. Retcon is a masterpiece and a joy to listen to.
MP3: Mylets “Easy 80s”