Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., April 23, 2004
Kino EyeInternal Architecture Seems as though every new Austin band is some permutation of 1983 post-punk. Kino Eye is no exception, though there's not a whiff of Joy Division here. Nor a hint of the Fall, and only a morsel of Gang of Four. Instead, this local fourpiece builds on the spirit of early PiL, abstract and abrasive enough to be at home in a modern art gallery, but groovy and catchy enough to stir club folk into motion. Kino Eye is fronted by the vocal tandem of drummer Teressa Brake and keyboardist/guitarist Rebecca Gonzales, who trade half-spoken barbs and deadpanned imagery. Their eight-song, EP-length Internal Architecture establishes their m.o. immediately: Snaky guitar lines clash behind foreboding synths, as lyrical basslines contrast mysterious phrases like "messages in cookbooks" and "fortune cookie insect." The jagged repetition embellishes Brake's metronomic rhythms, yet the group keeps songs short and sharp. "Collar Up" is a dead ringer for Sonic Youth circa 1981. Its tightly wound fits and starts pile up into knocks and pings as Ryan Weston's deep vocals meld with Gonzales and Brake à la Lee Ranaldo and Kim Gordon. Capper "Split the Seal," titled "Donnie Darko" on the band's 2003 EP, is the secret weapon here. Brake projects salt like Poly Styrine speaking in tongues as Gonzales' synth blows wormholes into the peppery guitarchitecture. Weston plays Frank during interludes, dropping quantum mechanics and metaphysics. Like Darko itself, Kino Eye is quite the fascinating creation.