Alchemical Task

Lore City

Lore City Music, 2020

http://www.lorecitymusic.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/11/2020

A Portland, Oregon duo that takes a very unorthodox approach to their song craft, Laura Mariposa Williams and Eric Angelo Bessel, aka Lore City, might remind us of Radiohead, Sigur Rós, Low, or even Swans. However, make no mistake about it: their articulate brand of psych rock, slow-core, and dream pop resides in a category all its own on this fascinating third studio album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Alchemical Task. 

“Separateness” starts the listen with firm drumming as soft, wispy vocals enter the atmospheric, almost surreal landscape that unfolds over nearly nine minutes of elaborate and often abstract exploration.

There's just six tracks here, but half of them surpass eight minutes. But the pair won't have any trouble holding your interest with songs like the ominous opening of “It's All Happening,” where post-rock ideas collide with vocals being used like an instrument in its ethereal climate.

Elsewhere, “Beacon Of Light” is a brief, shimmering display of art-rock that’s plenty dreamy, while “Into Your Blue” showcases Williams' versatile pipes alongside a post-punk backdrop that's indebted to the '80s.

The final two tracks don't detract from their cautious formula but arrive without drums; they include the mysterious, soulful “Beyond Done” where the barely audible vocals only add to the charm, while “Don't Be Afraid” exits the listen with soaring singing alongside a landscape that almost seems like a religious experience in its sublime nature.

Williams handles vocals, keys and guitar here, and Bessel takes up percussion, keys, and guitar. The married couple emits an intimate and often minimal endeavor that turns repetition into a refined science.

Certainly an album that won't be everyone's cup of tea, for those who examine the contrast between light and dark, calm and abrasive and possess an affinity for label like 4AD or legends like Bauhaus, Siouxise and the Banshees or My Bloody Valentine.

Rating: B+

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