The Pen Is Mightier
“Welcome to life,” declares Kyoto Protocol frontman Fuad Alhabshi on Universal Rhyme, the opening track for its new album The Pen Is Mightier.
It’s an apt description of the album, which sounds like the band – which comprises Fuad, keyboardist Gael Oliveres, guitarist Hairi Haneefa, bassist Shakeil Bashir, and drummer Shanjeev Reddy – is embracing life and having more fun with its music than ever.
Its first full-length album, Catch These Men, was only released seven years after the band was formed, and had a combination of new songs and previously released singles that rounded up the band’s music in those formative years.
The Pen Is Mightier, however, has the band sounding fresher and more expressive, as if free of the pressure of history they had to live up to with the first album.
The album itself has a refreshingly 90s alternative rock vibe – some songs, One Step, for instance, do sound as if the boys have been listening to way too much Foo Fighters while writing the songs, but that’s not exactly a bad thing.
Soaring first single Delta Wing is still one of the best tracks on the record, but there are other highlights too, including the rocking Guilty Plea, and the aforementioned One Step, which may start off Foo Fighters-esque but sees the band quickly putting its own stamp on the tune before ending with a stunning instrumental flourish that segues perfectly into the following The End.
Universal Rhyme is another standout track, with Fuad’s distinctly vocals giving it a deeper resonance, which eventually rises to a rousing finale that makes your heart soar.
It’s a feeling you get constantly throughout the album, and a great indication that maybe, just maybe, Kyoto Protocol is finally ready to soar even higher.