Making their bow on Castle Face are retro-futurists LFZ. Name Plus Focus arrives with the John Dwyer Seal Of Approval - probably par for the course given that it is being released by his label. One spin of this LP and you can see why. The icy, vaguely proggy synthscapes here are the sort of thing that has been creeping into Thee Oh Sees/Oh Sees/OCS sound for some time now. For fans of Italians Do It Better, or perhaps Wendy Carlos if you’re of a more classic disposition.
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This is extremely retro. I think. I don’t know. These days a synthesizer has only to squelch and I’ll think it came from an era when space travel was in its advent and TVs were really quite round. All I know is that LFZ sounds like it’s really late to the whole laser-beamed electronic thing, coming in too late for season two but too early for season three of Stranger Things, and resembling S U R V I V E as full-on droners. Out on Castle Face, it’s a great little synth-psych nugget, offering sharp and icy ambience for the cold at heart.
This is an overt record: LFZ’s music exists largely on one single plain, with any increment in layers adding to the uneasy foreground. The best tunes are the most structured, with the amazingly proggy “Silence” building goofy, stretched-out guitar sounds on top of blunt piano chords. It’s absolutely one of the most over the top things I’ve heard this year and I can’t get enough of it. “An Ambiguous Utopia” goes deep into the cinematic hauntology thing, which feels a little more tried, at this point, going all in on the gloomy seriousness that comes with making this kinda synth music.
For the occasional drop of electronic prog gold, LFZ has made a record worth recommending. It all sounds a little silly, but hey -- whom among us hasn’t gone full throwback, at one point or another? This is vintage fun and as a prog dad born in the wrong era, I'm all for it.
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