Photo by David Greenwald
Lewis & Clarke’s debut, Bare Bones and Branches, came out of nowhere to land in my ’05 top 10. L&C (led by Lou Rogai) are one of the few bands successfully nailing my favorite “genre,” atmospholk — traditional subject matter and performances draped in lush, hi-fi headphones atmospherics. The band’s sophomore release can be related to its predecessor as Joanna Newsom’s Ys is to Milk-Eyed Mender: much more conceptual. And with longer songs. (Those of you who can’t stand Newsom’s warble, don’t worry. Rogai’s voice is earnest, steadfast and thoroughly likeable. [And those of you worried that this week’s Pitchfork review compared the album to Matt Pond PA — yeah, I don’t know what she was talking about either.])
While I still slightly prefer the crisp songwriting of Bare Bones and Branches, I have no qualms whatsoever about recommending Rogai’s latest. It’s an ambitious release, and a beautiful one. Its long instrumental passages are reflective of the inner monologue the band hopes to inspire. I don’t know if the album’s overall narrative is quite as focused as it could be, but that’s my only critique of an otherwise aesthetically stunning release. Its best moment is its 10-minute centerpiece, “Before It Breaks You” — a song that I’ve posted before and, right now, am posting again.
Lewis & Clarke – “Before It Breaks You”: mp3
(Blasts of Holy Birth is out now via self-release on L&C’s own label, La Société Expéditionnaire)
Previously: Blasting Through
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