LNZNDRF is a new band, but its members are pretty thoroughly experienced. We have the two Devendorf brothers from The National working alongside Ben Lanz, a frequent collaborator with Sufjan Stevens and Beirut. This self-titled debut is boiled down from lengthy rock improvisations, and sounds accordingly fresh. Clear vinyl LP on 4AD.
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So what happens when a couple of guys from the National meet a guy from Beirut? First of all they choose an impossible to say name just to confuse everybody. Next they spend three days recording music. Then they hawk it to labels who see the words the National and Beirut on the scribbled note and one of them (4AD) bites.
I’d pretty much forgotten all about the bands they have emerged from -- probably a good idea, in any case. They play tight and tidy clipped kraut rock which on opener ‘Future You’ is dark and mysterious with a twang that recalls Scenic. ‘Beneath the Black Sea’ is sparkling and spangling and adds vocals that recall Wire’s Colin Newman being all robotic. This track in particular develops quite nicely with some Peter Hook bass and fluttering percussion. There’s a particular album highlight in ‘Kind Things’ which starts all mysterious with a discordant solo which made me almost switch off but wait for the vocals to come in, it has the most amazing chorus hook that possibly should be illegal. I’m struggling for a comparison, kind of Kate Bush/Dutch Uncles. It's the sort of track which if you ignore the rest of the LP you really need to hear. If you like the National then ‘Hypno Skate’ is probably the closest thing to them but without all that dreariness.
Overall it’s been a worthwhile experiment. The sort of album which sounds like it has been made without any actual plan and is all the better for it.
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