Search The Line of Best Fit
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EKKSTACY waters down the punk he desires on his self titled effort


Release date: 19 January 2024
Ekkstacy Ekkstacy
19 January 2024, 14:00 Written by Matthew Collins

EKKSTACY, the stage name of Canadian musician Khyree Zienty, has a Soundcloud paper trail containing a solid few years’ worth of self-released tracks that affix lyrical dejection to driving post-punk basslines.

The songs are by and large drab affairs, each assigned a similar drum beat, monochrome art and an invariably melodramatic title. The subject matter is dour, and his depictions of depression and romantic disappointment are often too heavy-handed to offer the insights of truly therapeutic music. His latest, self-titled offering is sadly more of the same.

Zienty has undeniably sought to shake up his formula somewhat, as he experiments with lighter sound palettes on some tracks and pivots to the singalong abandon of pop punk on others. Yet there is surprisingly little to musically distinguish individual songs. The relentlessly reverb-heavy guitars smother his faster-paced songs and are too dense to allow his more delicate, almost twee melodies space to breathe.

Much of the lyrics on EKKSTACY are littered with clichés and inanities, and Zienty seems unwilling to commit to either morose posturing or unrestrained edginess. He threatens on “luv of my life,” for example, to commit suicide if his significant other bails, then immediately retreats to suggest he was apathetically “just kidding” about such intentions.

Irrespective of any compositional characteristics, EKKSTACY does a number on the ears through poor sound quality alone. One can easily imagine much of the album recorded in the middle of a wind tunnel, with Zienty singing at one end and a Sarah Records compilation playing at the other. Virtually every component of each track is swathed in unconscionable quantities of reverb – which, going off EKKSTACY back catalog, is admittedly nothing new – but the mix is also compressed to high heaven. When he strums an acoustic guitar on “problems” and the start of “get me out,” the strings are practically vibrating inside the listener’s ear canal, a particularly disorientating effect within the latter in light of its comparatively lo-fi production value.

EKKSTACY is not entirely without merit. On album highlight “headless horseman lost his way,” Zienty slips into a higher register and positively soars over a chugging grayscale instrumental, his wordless exclamations far more emotionally resonant than the over-warmed loathing of “hate myself / hate my life.” Yes, some of these songs are mushy, colorless approximations of The Field Mice, but there are certainly far worse bands to imitate. That being said, EKKSTACY is fundamentally a listless bore, packing little of the emotional impact he seeks so desperately to intimate.

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