STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 4172-5138 LABEL: Sticky Music GUM16CD FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Peter Small
I liked their first album despite the all-American rock gloss which some folk complained about. In fact I was a mite concerned when I heard they were sailing into admittedly cooler Blue Nile territory. The Blue Nile are OK but for me never quite deserved their reputation. Atmospherics need a bit more of a tune to hold them down and LDL always knew what one of them was. But no worries, there's certainly no tune shortage here and more besides. Freed perhaps from the restraints of a major label they've come up with something very good and very different. Stadium rock this ain't! It's lazy, late-night music, the mixture of a small number of carefully chosen ingredients: low throbbing bass, crisp dry minimal drums, clanging droning guitars, a distant feedback howl blending into ethereal keyboards or an economical funky rhythm guitar with a simple melodic snatch of organ or echoing piano in a lot of empty space, and plaintive yearning vocals. But it's the songs that make it special - "Same Road", with its shifting textures and lazy groove, "Heaven Train", with its chiming guitars and shuffling dancey drums. "One Time" sounds a little like the kind of brooding soundscape Daniel Lanois brewed up for Dylan's 'Oh Mercy', though groovier and more natural sounding with some ace swampy guitar. Here as elsewhere lyrics tend towards the confessional well told tales of ordinary life. Occasionally the melodies are hard to pick out ("My Ship On Fire") but who could complain about an album with gems like "Love's Own Language", "Tell Me Truly" and "Do You Care?" - all finely crafted but never predictable masterpieces of understatement. Not an album that grabs you straight away, more one that draws you in gradually. Buy and cherish.
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