In Strange Lines And Distances...
This week the best new things we’ve been listening to were...
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
LAYMAR – In Strange Lines And Distances (TV) – Alright look, I’m going to be honest with you here and leave this review as it originally was, I was just about to bin the original review and start again now that Swords has brought the whole thing in to some kind of mind-blowing focus and enabled the beauty and more importantly the unique personality of things like the fifth track here Juvenile Whole Life have revealed themselves properly.
Here’s where the original review started: More of that moody post rock stuff, there’s a tidal wave of it slowly swamping over us now, more of it weekly – more dark moody instrumental epicness and Godspeed your Russian Circles in The Sky. All very beautifully soothing and yes, sky-touching once more, darker clouds in the sky this time but hey, this is just epic instrumental post rock again. It isn’t really until the strange spoken word undercurrent of the final nineteen minute track Swords turns your head and brings things in to focus that Leymar start to really establish a musical personality of their own. Swords is exhilarating, Swords is dark and brooding and suffocating in an understated minimal experimental way – Swords saved it all and just as I was thinking about yelling about no more post rock and pass me that Sammy Hagar album about fast sports cars and hitch-hiking women in short red dresses.... Swords is thrilling, Swords is one of the best pieces of instrumental atmospheric mood music in ages, 28 Days good and beyond the cliches of mere post rock. Throbbing brooding organic instrumental darkness and building drama – an amazing piece of shape shifting music and just when you think they can’t take you any higher the brilliant drama of the drums slowly kick in, brilliant brilliant brilliant! Subtle mood shifting brilliance (I’d tell you it was like the first time you heard Wish You Were Here, I’d tell you it was that good but you’d accuse me of going completely over the top). This will teach me to not half-finish a half-arsed review before getting to the last track - whoooooooosh, just reaching the eighteenth minute and the quiet come down, whooooooooooosh again!
See that was where I got to with the original review. I was going to delete it and start again, but no, and now I’m listening to the album on repeat, besides Swords, I’m not ready for Swords again yet, I’m saving that for later, I just turned Swords off three minutes in, I need that rush again later when I’m really ready to let it in again – it really was that good and less is always more and those first three minutes of it just confirmed that, can’t listen to all nineteen minutes of Swords right now, need to ration the rush... This is an excellent debut album from the Manchester three piece, it took a couple of listens to really grab, the whole album is good, there’s personality here, an original take on instrumental post tock and yes, you do need this album in there with your post rock classics.
And now, three days later here I am finally listening to Swords again - only the second time - I was right about it the first... whooooooooooooosh. –
The post-rock equivalent of the best massage you\'ve ever had.
If Sigur Ros were born to soundtrack the desolation of nature, Laymar were born to soundtrack the desolation of the inner city...
Almost entirely instrumental, dark, low and with enough of a beat to ensure they\'re not ambient, Laymar are music to listen to on a midnight drive through industrial wastelands...
The band consists of just three men: Colin Williams on guitar, piano and synth; Ciaran Cullen on bass and synth; and David Paul on drums and sequenced electronics (and album artwork). Rock minimalism filtered through Godspeed You, Black Emperor and electronic trickery, their music is the sound of the long, long, midnight haul on a work drive you don\'t want to be on, the sounds that drift through your head as you fall asleep, leaving your mate to drive. The slow turn of the wheel, the drag of the tarmac, the faint memory of the town you\'ve just left. And it\'s beautiful.
Brooding drones and ambient textures from Manchester.
Even those of us who dig post -rock would have to concede that it’s become rather formulaic, so let’s not use that tag for Laymar’s impressive deployment of crystalline atmospherics and dark textures. Aside from maybe The Cocteau Twins, this album references soundtracks rather than other bands, its future sound of gloom aesthetic tailor made for your next trip into the icy depths of outer space. In more rockist terms, this could easily appeal to affectionados of Trent Reznor’s ambient side, or perhaps devotees of post BM outfits Ulver, but this haunting trip into the darkness stands as as intensely individual work
\"I have changed constantly all my life, usually at top speed, and it has always been with the total, permanent finality of a thing fed into the atom smasher. My soul and my body chemistry are like that of a chameleon, a lizard with no pulse...\"
Hunter S. Thompson
“That quote describes our journey quite well”. Laymar consist of Colin on guitar, piano and synth. David on drums, programmed drums and laptop and Ciaran on bass, synth and laptop. Unsure of whether they are circling outwards to meet the edge, or spiralling inwards to reconnect with the dark hole in the centre, the dense and textured noise fills the void with the uncomfortable hum of an insular cosmos. Floating in airways and spanning global highways, the singular children and the lonely passengers star out at the sea of faces and tremulous, tenuous connections. Are there patterns within the chaos or are they self-imposed? It’s both fluid and static.
In Strange Lines and Distances... is evocative of a disturbing dream that infiltrates your thoughts, one that weighs on your mind and whispers to you just before you fall asleep, keeping your mind active and brooding. \"I would say our music is like the music you\'d hear if you were entering the gates of hell.” Colin says, with little trace of irony. Laymar play on the dark side of the doors of perception - the drone of the tiny parts of the machine that constructs and calculates ad infinitum to make up the whole. The ‘math rock’ term that is applied to their former stage-mates Battles and Youth Movies could circumference them. Post-post-post rock, electronics. Laymar prefer the term ‘psychological rock’.
“We\'re a very intense band. It must be quite uncomfortable for audiences to watch us sometimes. We put absolutely everything into our performances. For us, when we\'re on stage, it\'s like we have this one chance to show everyone in the room how much our music means to us” asserts Ciaran.
The three members met in the school choir, but preferred to devote themselves to rock music. From the introverted teenage narcissism of a Nirvana covers band they turned, expanding their focus to explore the restless undercurrent that pulses throughout and underpins an introspective society.
The moniker Laymar was lifted from the Greek Bible. “Chosen”, states David, \"because it sounded good. It doesn\'t sound like a noun, it sounds like an adjective... one which perfectly sums up our sound\". They are modifiers, distortionists.
\"We\'ve taken a lot of beatings,\" David adds. \"I think people see that in us. The people who come to our gigs share our outlook and address life the same way. These are people who aren\'t following the latest indie fashion trends in Manchester. They want music which is honest and doesn\'t compromise”.
“What draws us to this sort of music is because it is hard to listen to; there has to be some sort of intellectual participation on the part of the audience”, explains Ciaran.
Laymar set the listener a mental challenge - they are the sound of the experiment, of marbles being discarded and flying fast down an infinite maze of corridors. They are the snakes in the air, they are the little black dots. The quiet space that rejects you and starts to murmur with the disconcerting tongues of a 1000 strangers, projecting dark casts onto a febrile mind - Laymar infiltrate the imagination.
A tremor of bass and a synth sound that send shivers down your neck, like the desolate New Order in that interlude between the end of Joy Division and the dawning of their disco age.
Tripped-out, lysergic sonic odysseys which are part Mogwai, part (early) Verve, part Dolby Surround soundtrack to your worst nightmare... they summon up a vertigo-inducing wall of noise. It\'s music which is brimming with nerve-shredding tension and fury, but - like Ian Curtis in triplicate all on stage at once - it\'s also eerily spellbinding.
MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
Like Mogwai playing a set of instrumental Joy Division cover versions. Excellent.
ANGRY LEFT WING MOFO
A monolithic apex of spine-tingling sound to tear the breath from your lungs and the words from your mouth. ANGRYAPE
Laymar \"Product Of A Daydream\" (White Label) SINGLE OF THE MONTH.
It\'s all taut, wired, sparky and spunky stuff, more hooks than a fleet of long-liners, real melodies, powerful and well constructed songs that are as brainy as they are brawny. This is more like an album from a big name outfit than a demo from a gang of lads.
Laymar initiate the tympanic destruction, but they do it with grace and aggression in equal measure and its fucking stunning. Imagine taunting and berating Sigur Ros till the frustration and hostility of Massive Attack emerged from their delicate soundscapes and you’re someway to making sense of Laymar.
A mesmeric, head crunching experience. It\'s brave, experimental stuff, that takes inspiration from Mogwai\'s well thumbed handbook, but creates a rather Mancunian urban landscape (Chameleons, shades of an uber heavy Joy Division and plenty of heavy references from the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Tool).
“The perfect sound track for an alien abduction\"
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