CD Review of Coronation Thieves by Dragons of Zynth
Recommended if you like
TV on the Radio, Spiritualized,
The Mars Volta
Label
Gigantic
Dragons of Zynth:
Coronation Thieves

Reviewed by James B. Eldred

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G
narls Barkley and TV on the Radio meet Parliament and the best jam band from the planet Mars. That’s the best way to describe this wacky as all get-out collection of New York rockers and their debut record, Coronation Thieves.

Coronation Thieves was produced by two members of TV on the Radio, and it shows in its genre-defining madness. Howling guitars meet howling vocals one second, only for both to fade out into the oblivion of feedback and synthesizers the next. The Dragons of Zynth seem to constantly be one step away from complete and total chaos, with songs like “Who Rize Above” and “Breaker” staying just a step away from free-form acid-jazz or Phish-like jamminess.

What makes the band, and the record, so enthralling and magnificent is that while they constantly skirt the edge of free-form madness, they never jump off the ledge; they may hang off the ledge, or even bungee off it from time to time, but nothing more.

While the Dragons may never fully embrace those extreme free-form genres, they do tackle nearly ever other sound imaginable on Coronation Thieves. George Clinton-era funk gets a 21st-century update on “Ticket to Ride,” a funk-filled dance tune that brings to mind some of the more drug-influenced moments of the funkmaster’s classic Maggot Brain.

Other times the Dragons seem to get their rocks off with tunes like the previously mentioned “Breaker,” which starts as a fist-pounding retro rocker a la Wolfmother before getting sucked into a vortex of funk that transforms it into something else entirely -- something which cannot be defined very easily.

Right now the only problem the Dragons of Zynth seem to have is that they seemingly don’t know what to do when they slow things down a bit. Attempts at taking it down a notch, like “Labor Day Lung” and “Closer,” take the band’s love for soundscapes and electronic effects too far and quickly turn into sonic wallpaper.

It’s easy to see why the Dragons of Zynth have attracted so much hipster buzz of late. They sound like nothing else, have the right friends in TV on the Radio, and most likely sound freaking amazing live. It will be very interesting to see where these winged serpents take their sound in the future.

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