Despite some good moments, I never got my head around their 2003 self-titled album and Saturday Night Wrist (2006), but with Diamond Eyes (2010) they managed to blow my mind again. Let’s see of Koi No Yokan, the band’s latest offering, brings a smile to my face again.
Diamond Eyes is a tough act to follow by any stretch. At first I found Koi No Yokan to be a little underwhelming, mostly because it lacks some instantly recognizable songs, like “My Own Summer,” “Hole In The Earth,” “Rocket Skates” or the mighty title track of previous Deftones albums. However, Koi No Yokan is the type of album which demands more of its listener. The hooks and memorable melody lines are still there, but they’re hidden.
Tracks like “Leathers,” “Tempest” and “Rosemary” are incredibly layered and show a more psychedelic side of the band. Chino Moreno can still scream with the best of them, but he uses his melodic vocal style more than ever on this album. This may upset the fans who still long for a second Adrenaline or Around The Fur. However, the band has matured in a good way, much like fine Scotch whiskey.
In spirit and delivery Koi No Yokan reminds me of White Pony, albeit with a mature twist to it. Deftones are in a much better place nowadays and that shows on tracks like “Romantic Dreams,” “Poltergeist,” “Goon Squad” and “What Happened To You?” The band can still rage when it’s warranted, but it’s much more restrained and it never compromises the overall structure of the album.
In fact, it’s the frightful ease of which the band uses the dynamics and contrasts in their music that makes Koi No Yokan such a magical listening experience. Simply every little element and detail feels like it belongs there serving a bigger purpose. Koi No Yokan is graced with a dynamic and rich sound, which emphasizes the album’s layered approach and experimental character.
It took me some time before I really started to appreciate the richness and sheer brilliance of Koi No Yokan. It’s not an easy album to get into, but when it opens up to the listener, you’re in the musical ride of your life. Without a doubt one of the musical highlights of this year.
(released November 13, 2012 on Reprise Records)