Friday, August 30, 2013

Let's listen to Let's be Loveless

  What do you want out of a band? Do you ever just, like, think what you're asking the from the artist? I think most people would declare a passive relationship with music. I think they log into Pandora (or whatever), and the tunes either grasp them... or they don't. When you write about music, you have to go at it with a scalpel; you have to open it up, climb inside its chest cavity with a geiger counter, a divining rod, and a ouija board, and take your data, superstitions, and gut influences back to your laptop, and figure it all out.

Let's be Colorless
  Anyway, Let's be Loveless is a joy to take apart and study. The four piece consists of Abby Camaya (keys/vox), Eric Arikian (guitar/vox), Christopher Whalen (bass), and Gary Elliot (drums), and released an airy and highly textured self-titled EP last spring. I've seen them perform live many times (they're a lot of fun, check them out!), and was immediately drawn to Arikian's guitar playing. But upon deconstructing the EP, I find it to be an extremely bass-driven work. Whalen's bass playing brings together the shoegazey reverb laden guitar and Elliot's poppy tight drumming. The bass adds to the melody, or strengthens the rhythm, depending on what the moment calls for. Camaya's soft, yet soulful voice hovers slightly above the mix, and her minimalist keys add a layer of depth, but still allow the other instruments space to operate.  

  Video Song, opens up the EP. The track fades in, which always leads to me turning up the volume and ending up playing it louder than I meant to (by the time the track is at full volume.) Nice trick guys. "We all just put on make-up/and try not to fuck up..." is the line that's stuck in my head after listening to this one. I love it when the shaker kicks in after the first refrain.

  Motivational Speaker starts up with a big guitar riff and driving bass line, and brings the overall volume and aggressiveness up a notch. After the intro, the song breaks into straight up arpeggio-laden indie pop. "Don't look behind you/This time get it right." Cayama's advice is worth taking. She comes off as pessimistic, but also strong and determined, regardless of her doubts.

  Star Matter is super dance-y, and maybe my favorite song of the bunch. Good vocal interplay over the chorus, and a strong beat, I mean, really what else is there to say? That's indie pop right there. Whalen's bass punctuates a hip-swingingly syncopated rhythm during the breakdown, as the band gears up for another pass at the chorus. This is the one for the mix tape intended for your crush.

  Wake Up wraps the EP, and is a slight departure from the earlier tracks. Arikian trades in the big chords for an approach that is ornamental during the verse, and riff driven during the chorus. Though, by the outro, he's again in the forefront of the mix. The rhythmic feeling of the verse on Wake Up is a little more jerky, and really adds a sort of diversity to the EP, and hints at what might come from the next release.

  My biggest complaint is that the EP is too damn short! I'd really like to see what this band could do with a full length. Let's be Loveless is capable of music that feels simple and poppy, but still holds up while being dissected in a laboratory. They can pull this off because they understand how to be lush without being cramped. They have exactly what you're looking for in shoegaze/dream/indie/ pop, and they leave you with the feeling that they could still give you something more. I think you should listen to this EP a bunch, see them play a show or two, and probably pester them to go into the studio and record an LP. We can make this happen!  

Like Let's be Loveless on Facebook ---> here.

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