Every post-rock album released this season will stand in the shadow of GY!BE, but that doesn’t mean there’s no other good post-rock out there. One great way to be recognized is with humor and verve, both of which are on display here. Vienna’s le_mol‘s new album ticks off some boxes (a couple long tracks, peaks and valleys, creative titles), but also blazes its own path.
The key to understanding le_mol is to realize that the setup involves, to paraphrase the band, “a lot of limbs and loops”. le_mol is a duo that doesn’t sound like a duo; in fact, it would be impossible to play all of these parts onstage as such. This is apparent even in the opening track, “Time to Get Pumped, Robert Pattinson” (the first of many great titles), which seems to have at least two drummers and three guitarists, along with a person at the computer. As the track thickens, one imagines Raimund and Sebastian starting to play, then looking at each other and saying, “we need help.” Through the magic of the loop machine, they make it work; the seams are nearly invisible.
Most of the tracks are built in this way. The melody is apparent at the beginning, and the different parts are built around it. What starts off as simple steadily grows more complex. But the breakdowns mess with one’s mind, as new patterns are introduced and the listener starts to ask, “how did they accomplish this?” The music is propulsive, lending itself well to remixing as the loops are already in place. Touches of metal are strewn about (“Majorities Finest Moments”) as well as fragments of jazz (“Esarintu” – who brought the horn?), but it would be most interesting to hear these pieces played electronically; the composition method offers a perfect mirror.
The best track is probably “I Despise You, Butterflies,” as well it should be. As the album’s final and longest piece, the 9-minute track is clearly a set closer. Everything is patient. The set-up is longer, concentrating on piano and electronics; the build is nearly 2/3 of the track. The last three sludgy minutes offer a sense of closure. What begins in beauty ends in measured chaos; the boys have remained in control the whole time. (Richard Allen)