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Kyu's Self-Titled Album

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by James O'Doherty (subscribe)
Freelance writer from Sydney.
Published August 9th 2011
In 17 months, Sydney Uni's Kyü's Freya Berkhoüt and Alyx Dennïson have performed their first live show, recorded their first tracks, paired up with fantastic band Parades, and even released their first album. It's been nothing short of an absolute whirlwind for the quiet, unassuming duo. With the self-titled Kyü, the pair have asserted their unique sound on Sydney, and started critics' heads nodding over the city.

One part acoustic tribal drums, two parts clever vocal harmonies, one part soundtrack to the Lion King. It's been said before, but it's worth saying again – what Kyü creates is more auditory art than pop music. Pure vocal harmonies seep in and out of acoustic rolling drums. Pianos, synths and even a guitar provide a subtle backing track, but always play second fiddle to Alyx and Freya themselves. Lyrics change between prayer-like chants (check out 'Koi') and repeating phrases. Every track has a great mix of melodies, harmonies, and vocal power.

Vocal instrumentation, it's fair to say, plays the leading role in the pair's debut. Still, if you've had a chance to see Kyü live, it's clear that the duo is just as talented with a glockenspiel and set of drums. Watching them perform 'Sunny in Splodges' at O-Week this year was a visual treat. Their timid demeanour transformed into one powerful overcoming voice as soon as the music started rolling. Attacking the one drum in sync as the track hits its peak, there's no shortage of energy on stage.

The only downfall of this album may be that the energy felt in live shows doesn't come through a set of speakers in the same way. Although, the same could be said of any band in the country.

As a powerful musical soundscape, this smart album can hardly be faulted. Kyü is a smart album that's come quickly to Berkhoüt and Dennïson, exploded them onto Sydney's live scene just as fast.
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