humboldt - loris
As I was listening to Loris by Humboldt I was having a hard time defining what type of genre I was listening to. It's lo-fi that's for sure but besides that I had a hard time understanding what I was listening to. The songs drift towards pop sensibilities you might hear from someone like John Frusciante at times and other times I felt like I was listening to early Animal Collective. There are 12 songs on this EP that had some gems and other songs that were off the mark. The lo-fi aesthetics was often advantageous to the music at times and I felt the pacing of the album was well thought out. The songs are short and rarely eclipse the 3 minute mark. While I think the lo-fi quality often worked when there was sparse instrumentation it suffered when there was a lot of space being taken up in the mix. His vocals were hard to hear over the white noise of distorted guitars and I had a hard time making out what he was singing about. Beneath the layers often lied good songs that had good ideas and with mulitple listens started to enjoy the music.
The album starts out with "Wild Love" which is an utter mess. Distorted guitars grind and drums wail as there is little order and mostly chaos. I'll admit it peaked my interest to say the least. The second song "Echo Kills It" benefits from being a bit more subdued leaving some space for the song to breath. The song speeds up half way through before letting the electric guitar linger. One of the better songs on the album was "The Mouth" which had a pretty catchy vocal line that danced around a second overdub that worked out quite well. There was a nice variety of sounds like a smooth lead electric guitar and an acoustic breakdown towards the end that made the song fun to listen to. "Blue-eyed" was a decent song that behind the white noise had a pretty infectious guitar melody and a cool use of delay on the vocals. "Wolf & Crow" which was my favorite song on the album worked well because of the space he created with the percussion and guitars. The percussion sounded like he put together an ensemble of pot and pans. It created an elaborate pattern that was used as a canvas for a couple of electric guitars to play some lead work over. The album ends with "Dog Tooth Scar" which was the best sounding song on the album. I could clearly hear the vocals and was hoping he could have had more songs like that on the album. Overall, this album had some unique ideas, some good songs and enough variety to give the thumbs up.
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