Slow, moody groups like Kepler too often succumb to a sort of drowsy facelessness that renders them both indistinct and thuddingly dull. Fortunately, the Canadian quartet (like genre-founders Low) manages to inject a sense of tension and anxiety beneath their autumnal arrangements. The guitars twinkle like dying stars and Samir Kahn's mournful tenor soars and swoops over the skeletal arrangement. He is a masterful lyricist; Kepler's songs are colored with vivid imagery and cunning wordplay. The record opens with the enigmatic confession, "Inside your arms, I'm a parade of drunken soldiers," and from there Missionless Days is a sort of waking dream, populated by mutes and madmen and drunks. The songs creep slowly forward, stumbling as if by chance into stunning, transcendent choruses that ache with loneliness and unfulfilled longing. There are no warmth or reprieve in Kepler's songs, and neither are they stodgy or intellectual. Rather, each functions as a sort of long, tender plea for acceptance, solace, and comfort.
Missionless Days Review
by J. Edward Keyes