Artist: Laundry League
Keywords: Electronic, Dream Pop, Experimental, Indie, Shoegaze
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Ever since I first laid ears on the dreamy electronic sounds of the Laundry League, I’ve felt as if I’ve washed up with the tide on the downy-soft shores of a bleachy beach, the scent of fabric softener lingering in my nostrils. It feels clean and warm here, though I’m pretty sure I’m missing a sock. I liked Laundry League’s music so much, I knew we had to get her on the X.O.S. compilation. Recently-ish, I learned of her newest release, so here I am, listening to it and reviewing it so that others will listen to it and enjoy it as much as I do.
According to a brief statement from the artist, this is “an album about heartbreak, insecurity and getting through tough times.”
It begins, familiarly enough, with the first track. What sets this album apart from the majority of other albums out there is that this first track is titled ‘Amaranth’ — and sounds like nothing else! A dense, electro-groove splashes around in the low and mids with peculiar toms and synthetic noises. Synth strings and frantic arpeggios fill out the mix, as well as dreamy vocals. The overall effect is very nice, reminiscent sound-wise of NDW and lo-fi synth rarities, caked with reverb and far more emotive vocals.
The next piece is ‘Victory’, with low bass synth tones, light electronic drum sequences and more lovely vocal layers that float in the mix serenely. It sounds like there’s an organ modulation in there as well.
‘Carmine’ feels instantly like synthetic love, born of digital micro-chip processors; warm coils wrap themselves around us while whispering love-codes in binary. I love the way the drums sound in this one, just a softly thudding texture beneath a rosy ocean of illusions.
Nice funk-splash lo-fi drum sequences greet us on ‘Me, U And Mew’, soon joined with a sawtooth synth bass warble. Vocals, then some electro stabs. A lot less cold than you’d expect, given the sounds used, there’s a surprisingly human feel to this.
Then, we’re onto the next thing, a track who you can call ‘James’. It’s a bit tape-ified, warping slightly in places, and highly experimental electro with vocals that reach into your heart despite the audio avant-garde-itude, like that post-Kraftwerk ’80s minimal wave thing that feels like more of an abstract concept than anything.
I’m loving the vapory vibes on ‘People Like Us Are The Only Ones Here’, beneath which lurks distorted lo-fi garble-grooves. The vocals are nice, as usual!
‘Say It Right’ feels like a carousel in space filled with cupcakes, but after awhile that mirage fades and I feel like I’m being sucked into a vortex of eternal infiniteness and mild despondency. Something not even a unicorn could fix, at least not permanently. Aside from that, it’s a beautiful song.
Oh, and next is ‘YR’, with glowing lo-fi guitar layers and electronic rhythms. The vocals harmonize here very well, and frequent momentary lapses into minor dischord works artfully in the piece’s favor, like an attempt at stifling bitter tears over a glass of juice.
As we get further in, guitar seems to become more prominently featured in the music, as it seems to here with ‘Hum’. The tube-spring treatments are really nice sounding, and there’s a pace-keeping clink of sticks.
Mellow and harmonious pads, like the reverb of glass treat our ears on ‘Her Long Long Journey To Forget’. There’s a shuffle of shakers… the vocals here are among my favourite, lyrically, on the album. No guitar, so I guess I’ll scrap my two-track long running theory that we were going to see an evolution into minimal guitar purism as the album continued on…
… oh, but the guitar returns on the final piece, ‘Big Gold Ring’! So… there was merely a lapse into electronica. No worries. This is a nice track, closing with a bit more energy than much of the rest of the material making up the mid and end of the album. It’s hard to believe it’s over… it really feels like it could have, even should have gone on for much longer, though each track is a respectable length and there were multiple featured.
All in all, it’s a perfect recording! Get it while you’re still thinking about it by clicking the clicky-words down below: