BAND OF THE WEEK: HAS A SHADOW + LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE

2 Mar

Sky Is Hell Black” declares the title of the new album from Has A Shadow, a band of appropriately shadowy sonic soothsayers from ‘round Mexico way, yet they never get around to an explanation of how this “Hell” sounds so heavenly.

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Then again, it’s in the showing, not the telling, right? And even while “Sky Is Hell Black” tells us to keep listening, it shows us that there are countless reasons to fall for Has A Shadow.

This musical merging of opposites, of shadow and light, of form and emptiness, should be nothing new, nothing confounding. Dark as it may be at times, our ears find “Sky Is Hell Black” more comforting than confounding. Has A Shadow, for their part, leave the confounding to the cocksure choice of titling the first song of their first album “John Lennon.” Hey, we’ve heard of that dude!

To say it works would be an understatement. Resistance is futile – Has A Shadow is en fuego.

Yet it’s the title track that follows, however, that manages to bury any and all resistance we could possibly muster. A motorik stutter swims beneath the sixteen-ton bass-line, a singing synth makes dramatic and desperate stabs in the air, apparently locked in fierce battle with a dying nine-volt battery, which ushers in the complimentary axe-attack, leaving just enough breathable air for the death-rock vocals to announce the presence of the living dead. Forget Joan Crawford – Has A Shadow has risen from the grave.

Here’s an album built for the long-haul, an eternal would-be mix-tape classic, over-modulated and (probably) under-appreciated. You should, by all means, cross paths with “Sky Is Hell Black.”

We wouldn’t feel complete in our mission if we didn’t also at least sprinkle in a few kind words regarding the latest from Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, labelmates and countrymates of Has A Shadow.

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We know what you’re thinking – ANOTHER neo-psych-and-roll-and-gaze-and-whatever band from Mexico with a name that references “Seinfeld”? Of all the bands in the world that fit such a description, we’ve no problem declaring Lorelle Meets the Obsolete to be the best.

Nor do we have hesitation with calling “Chambers,” the latest album, one of the best of this year, or any year, really. Lorelle Meets the Obsolete clearly operate outside the constraints of time.

In our recent interview with the band – available at the Austin Psych Fest 2014 website – the band gave credence to describing their sound as “pattern music,” characterized by “repetitions drowned in distortion, delay and reverb.” It’s a fair description of a sound we could otherwise describe as indescribable and undeniable.

Given the band’s rapidly expanding discography, we recognize another pattern emerging with the release of “Chambers”: a pattern of Lorelle Meets the Obsolete creating some really fucking phenomenal songs.

Distortion, delay and reverb: They might as well be described as members of the band. Armed with these tools, “Chambers” does nothing less than reflect the universal and the particular in song, interacting with both and hindering neither, amplifying a deeply aware sound of light and dark locked in harmony. In the midst of a conflicting and competitive world, it’s a neat trick. If the pattern of “Chambers” continues, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete will never know the obscure.

Both “Sky Is Hell Black” and “Chambers” are available now from Captcha Records

“This inner enemy is extremely dangerous. The destructive potential of an external enemy is limited compared to that of its inner counterpart. Moreover, it is often possible to create a physical defense against an external enemy. In the past, for example, even though they had limited material resources and technological capabilities, people defended themselves by building fortresses and castles with many tiers and layers of walls. In today’s nuclear age, such defenses as castles and fortresses are obsolete. In a time when every country is a potential target for the nuclear weapons of others, human beings still continue to develop defense systems of greater and greater sophistication. I do not know if it will ever be possible to create a defense system capable of guaranteeing worldwide protection against all external forces of destruction. However, one thing is certain: as long as those destructive internal enemies are left to themselves, unchallenged, the threat of physical annihilation will always loom over us. In fact, the destructive power of an external enemy ultimately derives from the power of these internal forces. The inner enemy is the trigger that unleashes the destructive power of the external enemy.” – Tenzin Gyatso

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