Clue To Kalo's last album, Come Here When You Sleepwalk, sorta came out of nowhere the year that it was released and caught my ear as a great little piece of warm, electronic music that reminded me of spring and nostalgia. Mark Mitchell, the main fellow behind the group, wasn't afraid of singing and adding vocals to the mix, and the result was an organic and inviting effort that did some new things in a genre with slews of artists.
One Way, It's Every Way is the follow-up from Mitchell and it's a much bigger transformation than I would have expected. It's not quite along the same lines as the ultra-drastic change from Start Breaking My Heart to Up In Flames by Manitoba/Caribou, but it's a somewhat similar jump, not only does every song on One Way, It's Every Way contain vocals, but the variety of instrumentation and depth of the release is much expanded as well.
Supposedly constructed as a musical palindrome (something I don't quite hear), the album does indeed seem to document a time of turbulence and personal growth and change in Mitchell's life. There are narratives from different people, introspection, blame, and lots of other emotions dropped in alongside music that is surprisingly buoyant most of the time. "The Younger The Old" is a short track that opens the release with strummy guitar, wheezy organ, and whimsical programming while Mitchell adds his breathy vocals. "Seconds When It's Minutes" mixes guitar, mandolin, hand-percussion, and subtle electronic programming into a surprisingly spry track that shifts tempo several times and launches into sunny, glitched-out closing section that sounds like the Beach Boys remixed by Fennesz.
As mentioned above, the variety of instrumentation on One Way, It's Every Way is huge compared to the first release from the group. Mitchell is joined by a cast of friends who add saxophone, drums, accordion, guitars, flute, eastern instruments, strings, and more to the mix. With a deft hand, he combines all of the above with his soft vocals and a good bit of digital programming and processing. At almost seven minutes, "As Tommy Fixes Fights" is easily the longest track on the album, but it moves through about 4 different sections in that time and sounds like a stream of consciousness argument with oneself set to music.
There are lots of great evocative moments on the album, but perhaps the best is on "The Tense Changes." Even though it only runs barely over three minutes long, it morphs from a beginning swirling with backwards drones and glitch into a celebratory ending with strings, gorgeous vocals, and playful electronics. Because there's so much going on within the release, the forty-minute running length actually feels like a bit longer, but it's not a bad thing by any means. It's too bad this one is coming out just as fall arrives, because it's one of the better summer releases I've heard in awhile. If anything, it will hopefully help chase away a bit of the Seasonal Affective Disorder.