…this band are at their best when they allow their music to sound crystalline, akin, say, to seeing refracted light through a prism.
Slaraffenland – We’re on Your Side
Incendiary dig Slaraffenland. Despite not reviewing their first LP, we always found time to give it a spin, because it’s a fine work that gets better over time. And their Sunshine EP (which, we did review) was absolute dynamite. All of which makes reviewing this LP a bit of a let-down to be honest.
Now I know they like to slowly build up songs and moods over the course of an LP, wooing the listener along the way. And things start promisingly enough with Long Gone, which is classic Slaraffenland, chorus-like vocals, (Akron/Family style) steady beats, instruments slowly building a quietly euphoric mood. Sadly, the next tracks, Meet and Greet and Too Late to Think kill the early momentum, by not really offering anything much but more of the same. Everything becomes a bit wooden and plodding and the listener waits impatiently for a slight deviation, or change of tempo. And the lyrics really need to sort themselves out of a mogadon-induced haze on Too Late to Think.
When the beautiful guitar riff on Stars and Smiles turns up, relief abounds and the LP starts to pick up pace. The Right Place manages to balance their melodic qualities with more success, (maybe its because there is more space sonically…) proving that this band are at their best when they allow their music to sound crystalline, akin, say, to seeing refracted light through a prism. Other highlights are the gloriously slobby Falling Out, which is followed by the quirky, but very endearing Postcard, a song which typifies what this band does best, with its insidious, catchy riffs and repeat multi-track vocals slowly worming their way into the listener’s psyche.
The last tracks, Open Your Eyes and Away, are pretty great too; benefitting from a set of jarring and unusual sounds and greater sense of space. Away is particularly good, benefitting from a tinkling piano refrain and imaginative brass parts.
Overall, it’s okay, but it’s not what it could be.
Words: Richard Foster