It would be unfair to drop an Animal Collective tag on A Lull, even if the tribal-psych trailblazers do come to mind as an influence. But while A Lull is as awash in digital noises and experimentation as AnCo are, they differ greatly vocally, eschewing the Beach Boys in an underwater church reverb for a more intimate, close-mic’d conveyance.
Nigel Evan Dennis’s vocals can be obscure at times, less focused on descriptively telling stories than as a literary enhancement of the musical repetition and chaos that surround them. Opener "Weapons for War" starts the album off ominously: “I went home with my very best friend / with a gun, with a blade, with a name, one name.” An unnerving recurring lyrical theme is doubt and the helplessness felt after abandonment. "Dark Stuff" repeats “Sometimes 1’s not enough / sometimes 5’s not enough,” and all Nigel asks for in "Some Love" is to show him some. In "Mammals," he waxes philosophical on the human condition, offering “All we know are each other’s holes.” The aptly titled "Pregnancy" provides a free saxophone jam to build up the tension, waiting to give birth to the paranoia in "Sidemen," which dissolves into a fading chorus of voices. And despite all of the twists and turns each track can take, the transitions are never fractured, but rather weaved fluidly into and around each other. The album closes in gloom, as "Aytche" breaks down into a looping soundscape, with the vocals running to the distance, before building back up into a post-emo lament: “I’ll go home alone” is the tone in which the album closes, over a drowning synthesized glitch.
A Lull "Weapons For War" from A Lull on Vimeo.
If it hasn’t happened already, it would be brilliant to see these guys versus Yawn, all on a stage making as much percussive noise as possible; petition forthcoming. Until then, Confetti drops this Tuesday the 12th, and you can catch the band's record release show at Schubas on Friday the 22nd with locals Yourself and the Air and Nashville’s Heypenny.
Check out more record reviews:
Soft Speaker - I'll Tend Your Garden
The Dogs - Camping
Daniel Knox - Evryman for Himself
Architecture - When We Were Young
Whales - self-titled LP