Review by Dom Vigil
KONGOS’ Egomaniac will easily be one of the best new releases to jam this summer. With strong, pounding drum beats, big group vocals and a versatility that keeps you on your toes, you’re going to want to sing and dance along from start to finish.
Egomaniac starts off with a bang with opening track, “Take It From Me.” This high energy opener has so many layers both instrumentally and vocally that it’s impossible to focus on just one thing. “Take It From Me” is best when you take it all in at once, and I’m sure that’s just how KONGOS intended it. Old fans will be pleased with the stellar opener, while new listeners will be hooked in an instant.
Right away, the diversity on Egomaniac is obvious. Following “Take It From Me” is the more echoey “The World Would Run Better,” carried by vocals that tend to sound similar to Brandon Flowers of The Killers at times. Think Sam’s Town era The Killers meets KONGOS. It’s amazing. You don’t expect a song like “The World Run Better” after an explosive track like “Take It From Me,” which just goes to show how unpredictable KONGOS are.
The great thing about Egomaniac is that it takes elements of Lunatic that fans have grown to know and love, such as the strong drum beats, signature accordion heavy sound and big group vocals and expands on them. At first glance, it may seem like KONGOS are playing it safe, banking off of the sounds that made Lunatic successful (for instance, “I Want It Free” tends to sound very similar to “Come With Me Now”) but there are many stand-out tracks that prove that this isn’t just a Lunatic part two.
Not only is “Autocorrect” one of those standout songs, but it’s hilarious, proving that KONGOS don’t take themselves too seriously. Lines like, “In the future will I need my mind?/Or will Google take over this grind?” and “I wanna get fucked up/And then hit undo,” are impossible to take seriously (which is wonderful, by the way) but the songwriting in “Autocorrect” is also very smart. The song is carried by oscillating synth that makes you feel like you’re in a video game. A few songs later is “Birds Do It,” which doesn’t take itself seriously either, opening with the line, “Birds do it/Bees do it/Got a feeling even priests do it.” The track is lighthearted and funny, but also infectious and catchy.
Following “Birds Do It” is the much slower “2 In The Morning,” which just shows us yet another side of KONGOS that their usually big, catchy songs don’t. This song is very mellow, focusing mostly on the vocals, and the following song, “Look At Me,” while a little more upbeat, is very quiet as well.
Rounding up the end of the album is the vocally stunning and emotional, “Hey You, Yeah You,” followed by the much darker, “Repeat After Me” and it’s almost as if these two songs are exact opposites of one another. While “Hey You, Yeah You” is very bright and carried by higher vocals, “Repeat After Me” is eerie and spearheaded by very deep vocal work. Then, ending things on a strong note is the folky, “If You Could,” which sounds nothing like the rest of the album, in true KONGOS fashion. It totally works, and by the time “If You Could” comes to an end, you’re going to want to hit play all over again. KONGOS have carved out a sound all their own and simply expand on it with Egomaniac. Not only is the album a journey from start to finish, exploring many different sounds and genres, but it’s impossible not to have a good time while listening to it.
Listen to "Take It From Me"
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