air

Seems like just a year ago I was listening to the debut album by The Lovely Intangibles. Actually, it has been just over a year since the band’s debut Tomorrow Is Never was released to great acclaim (including by yours truly). The band features 3/5 members of The Lost Patrol, Jon Camp of Renaissance fame, and Mary Ognibene of Dotsun Moon. The chemistry is natural and the tunes are magnificent. The sophomore album was mixed and mastered by Brian Kehew – known for his work with The Moog Cookbook, Air, Fiona Apple, and The Who (among others). Air & Numbers takes the sounds of the debut to the next level – the shimmering intersection of post-punk and shoegaze.

Along with mix and master by Brian Kehew, the record was recorded by Stephen Masucci who also serves as the band’s guitarist, keyboardist, and bassist on a few songs. The term “recorded by” in the credits caught my eye as it is the term favored by Steve Albini (Big Black, Shellac) instead of “produced by”. It fits here – the record unfolds organically –  Mary Ognibene’s vocals running the gamut from dreamy to questioning to angry (and back again). All the while, the recording techniques never get in the way of the songs (I hate when that happens). The songs never fade away into the ether – the melodies are strong, the instruments have enough separation to stand out. This is a great sounding record with great tunes – a perfect combination.

underscore serves as a prologue to the album, a nuanced instrumental that sets the tone for what will come. horses on the run is the lead off single and is pure perfection – a bit of The Sound, a bit of Mazzy Star, all The Lovely Tangibles. The song title sounds like something off a Nico album, evoking vibrant imagery. Lyrically, it is evocative “Don’t let the shadows on the plain / Fool you into thinking  / I’m a fool for thinking”.  burned is a menacing breakdown of an affair in stark lyricism w/ a killer bass line. “it begins / this curious attraction / smoldering / it spreads in lavish fashion/ i’ve been burned by this before” big sky is a brooding, masterful instrumental strategically placed towards the end of the record. everywhere is a perfect closing song – full of melancholy yet hopeful, it brings together most of the elements that have been on play throughout the album. “And tonight I feel / Lights so bright and bare / Everything is mine / Everywhere”

This album is highly recommended and one of the many highlights of 2016. You can check out the tunes and buy the album on Bandcamp. You can also find it at any of the other major digital retailers.

Verdict:

For Fans of: The Sound, Kitchens of Distinction, Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, Nick Cave, The Raveonettes

Tracks:

  1. underscore
  2. horses on the run
  3. do you remember?
  4. burned by this
  5. red kingdom
  6. cover me
  7. big sky
  8. the other side
  9. everywhere
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