Lost In Kiev – Persona

With a penchant for wistful, stirring music, Parisian post-Rockers Lost In Kiev encapsulate euphoria and Industrial melancholy. Given this, third album Persona (Pelagic Records) has added import as a practical soundtrack to the recent devastation of their home city’s finest cultural landmark, as well as being the score for their accompanying film. Despite the opening title track’s initial sequences carrying more than a hint of Jean-Michel Jarre, that stark metallic synth adds a sinister element: while the inclusion of rampaging, howling leads in tandem with Yoann Vermuelen‘s metronomic drums gives a resonating power.

Persona is a story of robotics assuming a more powerful role in today’s world, and the ensuing ‘Lifelooper’ is introduced as a new link for the modern age, with spoken words and samples enhancing the mechanical vibe. The beautiful guitar tones of ‘The Incomplete’ show an amazing dexterity as well as songcraft, while the rising synths blend the searing melodies of Cult Of Luna with the analogue procession of Kraftwerk. Vermuelen directs the track through power and sensitivity while creating a tenderly swelling underpin for the algorithmic yet hugely moving ‘XM3216’: the keywork orchestral and steely, the guitars of Maxime Ingrand and Dmitri Denat subtle yet deeply affecting.

‘Pygmalion’ is a vibrating synth-drop carrying the sample of a protesting female android, portraying a mechanical world with human expression: while Jean-Christophe Condette‘s bass comes to the fore in the fluttering ‘Mindfiles’, the increasing swell surrounding his tight yet mellow notes and highlighting rebellion against the Artificial Intelligence takeover. It would be quite easy for the track to drift into a cheesy exercise in self-expression, but the complex ebb-and-flow is manufactured so well that it becomes a meaningful exhibition, a warning to humanity. Haunting synth and guitar create a cosmic opening to the potent ‘Psyche’, and continue to provide a chilling, chiming emotion to Vermuelen’s rattling, booming bones. The leadwork here is sublime, layering the complications of math Rock with staggering sensibility and paving the way for the rhythm-heavy explosion that is ‘Thumos’: a monstrous meld of thud and thrum, which nevertheless retains the veins of delicate, soaring melody and perfectly highlights the incredible skill of the protagonists.

Finale ‘Mecasocialis’ is carried by the phenomenal rhythmic weight that closed its predecessor, but launches the melodies to the fore once more. The string and synth blend here is plaintive yet uplifting and always enhanced by that rolling might, the whole of which epitomises this impressive experience. It’s one thing to tell a story with few words, but another to totally immerse the listener as a character in the play. By the end of the emotive bluster that is Persona, you’ll be fired up to join the revolution too.