Photo by Geoff L Johnson

The science of chemistry tells us that the addition and/or subtraction of specific elements to and from one another produces predictable reactions and outcomes. Bond a few hundred million hydrogen atoms to half as many oxygen atoms in a contained space and you can go swimming. Throw in chlorine crystalline hydrates to create hypochlorous acid and the resulting reaction will allow you to belly flop to your hearts’ content without having to worry about non-toilet trained kids and spitters of all ages. You get the idea.

Creative chemistry, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. The results emerging from the back end of a creative chemistry compound are more subjective, amorphous and difficult to predict. And even if the source elements can be distilled and identified, it’s impossible to quantify what causes and creates the energy that exists between those elements. In the case of Savannah, GA’s Kylesa, those standing elements are Phillip Cope, Laura Pleasants and Carl McGinley, the creative nucleus of the progressive, psychedelically stratified, metallic-laced, heavy rock veterans who, with seventh album, Exhausting Fire, provide a crowning example of the positive output that comes at the hands of the trio’s incendiary and powerful, yet nuanced and colorful, framework.

Following on the heels of the artistic broad jumps the band has exhibited since forming in 2001, Exhausting Fire hurls even more rule book pages out the tour van window as Kylesa further explore and incorporate psychedelic rock, new wave, space-age twangy Americana, 80s goth and death rock into their pitch-thick DIY punk/metal roots. But as much as change is a constant in their world (“Anyone who’s been following us this long is going to expect things to be slightly different each time. That’s the most normal thing about our band!” laughs guitarist/vocalist, Cope), there exists connective tissue to the past despite Exhausting Fire being the most diverse, dynamic and fully-realized work of their discography.


Phillip Cope – vocals, guitars
Laura Pleasants – vocals, guitars
Carl McGinley – drums, percussion



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