Wednesday 13 June 2012

Laurence and the Slab Boys - Lo-Fi Disgrace

So by now you should all know that The Cinematics are sadly no longer here, leaving us with this great reminder as the final nail was hammered into their musical coffin over in Berlin.  Well, if you did know that, then odds are you'll also know that during their ill-fated hiatus which led to their eventual split, guitarist Larry Reid embarked on a new project with a smattering of local musician friends... Laurence and the Slab Boys.

On the 18th of June, their debut album Lo-Fi Disgrace receives it's official release via Grumpy Records, a mere year-and-a half after it was recorded in the bleak German mid-Winter.  Geez... bleak, grumpy, 'lo-fi disgrace' is really selling this isn't it?  Thankfully, the album itself, is anything but.  Sure, it's not the most uplifting of albums, but it's an absolute pleasure nonetheless.

By now, I hope you realise why reviews on Kowalskiy are so few and far between.  The reasons are two-fold:
  1. I really am utter shite at doing reviews.
  2. The album under review has to be head and shoulders above anything else I've heard recently.
Two points I'm sure will become evident throughout this post...

So, onto the music itself.  The first track up is the aptly-named, instrumental Introduction which is quite sinister in places with it's muffled cries and foreboding atmosphere.  All of which leads us nicely into Mushroom.  It's always been one of my favourite tracks so it's the perfect choice as debut single in my book, albeit a bold choice for radio play as Larry himself once told me.  It continues where the intro left off, though here Larry's almost-slurred vocals of "I fear we’re gonna die young" complementing the sombre mood until another two-minute instrumental cuts through it.  It may well be a brave choice for airplay, but it's still one of the singles of the year.

But it's not all doom and gloom.  Sandwiched in between the Space Dream #1 and #2 duo, K. E. O. offers some upbeat respite with a subtle nod or two to New Order in the process.   It's these two Space Dream tracks though that form the focal point of this remarkable album.  Whereas the shoegazey #1 is awash with reverb and echoing harmonies, #2 is built around a series of riffs, with feedback buzzing away in the background.   It's these tracks which offer a fuzzy glimmer of The Cinematics which still hasn't left Larry's system yet, and both compliment each other, and the other tracks, perfectly.

It takes a very special talent to bring the listener so much enjoyment from what is, on-paper, a dark and at times forlorn set of songs, but with songwriting of this calibre and the sonic arrangements throughout, Larry and the boys have done exactly that.  He's very much at home centrestage that Mr. Reid!

The album will be launched on the 18th June in all the usual online download hotspots and in selected shops I'd imagine given time.  But, you can already get your hands on a CD from Grumpy Records or a digital download, both from here.

1 comment:

  1. Cracking Album, Album of the year so far for me!