After two 7”s, an LP and numerous tapes Brooklyn’s Kaleidoscope are back with their sharpest release to date. Written and recorded by the band in the house they live and create together. After the Futures…follows a path laid by worldwide sonic outsiders. You can hear vibes from the early ESP catalogue (Fugs, Godz, Zitro), guitar tones close to Peruvian Los Saicos, the wildness of the entire Attack Punk Records catalogue and constant nods to the blunt free spirit of Crass. The fifteen paranoid, anxious and gloomy tracks of the record offer a narrative, an open view of the state of the post-modern world we have to live in as opposed to a re-hash exercise of style about past times. After The Futures… comes housed in a due tone heavy board offset sleeve and includes an A2 poster and a 16 pages risographed lyric booklet.
Our take: I’ve been saying for years that New York’s Kaleidoscope is one of the most exciting bands in punk, and After the Futures is their most exciting record yet. We last heard from Kaleidoscope a year ago on the 2017 EP, which featured the standout track “Scorched Earth.” “Scorched Earth” was where everything seemed to come together for Kaleidoscope, fusing their confrontational politics and noisy, layered sound with a subtle undercurrent of bouncy catchiness. If you’re looking for a hit like “Scorched Earth,” After the Futures‘ title track has you covered, but as always Kaleidoscope continues to push their sound in different directions. Like a lot of my favorite anarcho-punk, After the Futures has hardcore’s density, but rather than basing their songs around sequences of riffs or a conventional pop structure, they jam out on these (often simple) repeating patterns that loop, intertwine, and turn back in on themselves with the kaleidoscopic (see what I did there?) complexity of a great Can track. However, despite how layered, complex, and progressive every second of After the Futures is, it retains the urgency, the heaviness, and the energy of hardcore punk. Which is appropriate given the lyrics’ weighty subject matter. As the dense and beautiful lyric zine that accompanies the record explains, “This is a statement of horror and frustration at a world relentlessly shaped by war and finance.” Like the best hardcore punk (or, rather, the best art), After the Futures pushes forward and searches for truth, be it musical, political, or philosophical. It’s not easy music, but it’s not unpleasant either, and it rewards your attention bountifully. After the Futures is one of the most important and exciting records of 2019, and if you care enough about hardcore punk to be reading this, you should almost certainly own it.