Despite the accessible songwriting of Coffins on Io and the emphasis on vocal melody and electronic percussion, Kayo Dot fans will find the record’s darkness and intensity familiar and relatable. For example: the dark wave of Coffins on Io album-track “Off-ramp Cycle” might be unrecognizable to Kayo Dot’s metal fans. “The sound is kind of like a sexy combination of Type O Negative, Peter Gabriel, Sisters of Mercy,” Driver says. But the track also encompasses the brooding menace of classic Bauhaus as well as current dark wavers Cold Cave and Crystal Stilts: artists young and old who live and die in those unknowable corners where heaviness meets delicacy and sincerity meets theatricality.
Elsewhere, Driver’s penchant for prog rock surfaces in the ethereal “Spirit Photography,” complete with a saxophone melody line—strikingly gentle when compared to Kayo Dot’s brutal back catalog. “Long Time Disturbance on the Miracle Mile” could be a Bryan Ferry-era Roxy Music cut, and “The Mortality of Doves” could be Eno-produced David Bowie.
Driver says there’s also an element of sexuality in Coffins on Io.“Basically the vibe that we’re going for here is inspired by 80s retro-future noir— Blade Runner,” Driver explains. “I wanted to make a good record to put on while you drive across the desert at night under a toxic, post-apocalyptic atmosphere,” he says, adding, “There’s a weird underlying theme of murder, shame and death.”