DC’s Lorelei have a somewhat storied past, though it seems more steeped in the history of their label, Slumberland Records, since the band only released one LP during their time. But, they’re back with their second LP, Enterprising Sidewalks; it’s interesting, as the record feels a bit like it has a more modern influence than their previous release(s). Lets take a look.
The first song that stuck out to me was “Majority Stakes,” the second track on the record. When it begins, the vocals are draped neatly over a distant drum roll, giving off a haunting mood, but as it progresses it blasts off into what I would deem Interpol territory. I know Paul Banks came later in life, but I swear he’s the one singing this tune. Still, the ringing guitar makes it a solid jam, though it might carry on a bit too long. The inherent darkness subsides a bit when you move into the next song, “Wound Up.” While I’m not overly sold on the vocal (it sounds a bit flat to me), I can’t get over the way the words wrap around the guitar lines. There’s something classic about the way Matthew Dingee plays guitar, and it’s executed perfectly here, demonstrating why the band’s name has made it this far.
As I spend more time with Lorelei, I realize that the band’s really a guitar based band. In listening to a song like “Sorry for the Patience,” you can tell that the time spent writing the track revolved around the guitar. I’d kill for more songs to sound like the opening twenty seconds with that bright angular guitar ringing in the foreground. I guess it’s the group pushing songs a bit too far that sometimes gets me, but their more concise songs are worthy of repeated listens. Another song that really gets me is “Dismissal Conversation.” There’s a trickling guitar meandering in from the beginning, but it takes a step to the side for spoken word lyrics to break out, but they wrap it up neatly, giving you a succinct example of the talents they have in their hands.
I’ve spent several hours with Enterprising Sidewalks, and there’s something just a bit off, for me. I love the fact that the group combines elements of bands like The Wedding Present and Interpol, which would normally make them a shoo-in for one of my favorite groups, but what is that thing that’s amiss? As I’ve tried to figure it out, I’ve come to the realization that it could be one of two things, or perhaps both. The vocals often sound flat, and don’t always seem to fit in with the feeling of the songs. But, the songs also carry on a bit too long for me. Only one song goes under the 4 minute mark, and that’s my favorite one. I guess I just feel like they’re trying to fit too much into a limited space.
In the end, I like the record, and I know I’ll listen to it for times to come, but I’m not entirely sold on the group’s complete return to form. In time, I reckon Enterprising Sidewalks will grow on old fans, but they’ve got a little work to do in order to completely win over fans who are just now getting to meet Lorelei.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/01-Hammer-Meets-Tongs.mp3]
Download:Lorelei – Hammer Meets Tongs [MP3]