The Laplings | The Laplings LP
Seattle’s The Laplings (aka Sean Lane and Valerie Lane) have a new self-titled record out now, which you can hear at the band’s bandcamp page. The record makes its mark early with the experimental cacophony of the first track, “Missing Out”. It’s a cool blending of harmonic vocals, skittered beats, clickety-clacking percussion, that builds into a frenzy of overlapping orchestration. Musically, it’s like Thom Yorke threw on one of those mean beats he loves so much, and Stereolab added a touch of its eclectic imagination. The song’s weird time signatures, free-flowing melodies, and sing-song lyrical snippets (“You’re missing out”; “What must we do to prove this to you”; “Erase future with fear”; “Brace ourselves for attack / You cannot take it back”); make this a fascinating and addictive song. But it really doesn’t stop there. The second track revels in the same complex orchestration (once again with lyrics touching on the notion of time, just as the third track, “Take It All Away”, does too), this time dropping the stuttering beats, but adding a layer of backing vocals and warn synth notes. “Take It All Away” tones down the chaos, and shows a dark, elegant charm. There’s a jazzy improvisational feeling to the music on this record that keeps all the layers and textures of the tracks from feeling tight, restricted and too prepared. One of the verses on “Friend’s Like These” is meant as a comment on a relationship: “I have no idea where this is going” — but could be applied to the wonderment of listeners hearing the record for the first time. But perhaps the most important element to the band’s alluring sound is just how well the Lane’s voices complement each other, and how well the duo know how to use their abilities. On the ominous, Radiohead-esque, “I’m So”, Sean’s voice seems to play around Valerie’s, sometimes trailing her vocals like a shadow, and at other times nuzzling up to it. The soothing vocal harmonies on this record are often paired with harsher noises, like scrapes, and industrial drums — which makes for compelling listening. No doubt “Missing Out” will be added to my long-list for TBB’s best songs of the year. –– David D. Robbins Jr.