Tuesday, 17th July 2018. 7:20:23am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Lazy Lane- The Chills


Artist: Lazy Lane
CD Title: The Chills
Label: self-released
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 8/7/03

Somewhere in the musical universe, around the intersection of Mazzy Star, The Cranes, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Lydia Lunch, and Elysian Fields, you'll find Lazy Lane. Their self-released full-length debut, The Chills, is a diverse yet cohesive collection of songs that go far beyond the album's title, ranging from slow-paced goth numbers to lo-fi indie rock to moody late-night lounge rock.

The band's sound is centered around Lily Lane's haunting, reverb-drenched vocals with inflections reminiscent of Mazzy Star vocalist Hope Sandoval and occasional moments that warrant comparisons to the eerie child-like voice of The Cranes' Alison Shaw. Her synth skills also create the great atmospheric elements that are central to some of the album's moodier numbers. The music is largely anchored by Aaron Richardson's bass and fleshed out by the proficient rhythm and lead guitar work of Greg Ballato. The lineup is completed by drummer Nathan Ballato, who creates an excellent rhythmic background that is somewhat under-mixed and underplayed on the album, providing ample backing while giving things something of a lo-fi live vibe.

The album gets off to a moody start with "The Girl Upstairs". It's a slow number anchored by a plodding bass line and backed by organ with a bridge that features a cascading synth piano part that adds something of a surreal dreamlike quality to the song. The eerie vibe continues into the next track, the aptly titled "Sleepyville Creepshow", another great moody number complete with rain samples and synth organ that falls somewhere between a cheesy late-night b-horror special and some kind of twisted circus sideshow.

From there, the album takes a somewhat different tone, dropping the quirky horror vibe of the opening songs for the laid back rock and catchy chorus of "Eraser". The trend continues with the more upbeat, rhythmic, riff-based indie rocker "Nepenthe", followed by the funkier rock sound and turntable scratching of "Black Cat". "Always Tomorrow", a faster rocker with driving bass, a great vocal melody on the bridge, and a crunchy distorted chorus, is perhaps the most straightforward rocker on the album and is somewhat similar vocally and musically to Population Four era Cranes.

The sinister bass of "Waking Up Buttercup" ushers in a return to the creepy organ and eastern flute sound of the first track, combining with some great processed guitar to give the song something of an 80s post-punk vibe a la The Banshees or Skeletal Family. It then takes a break from the gloom with "Madame Ruby", a slow, jazzy lounge rock track complete with horn bursts, bluesy guitar solos, and processed breathy vocals, before turning dark once again with the two track tour de force of "Poltergeist" and "Soul Thief". Basically blending together seamlessly into one piece, they form something of hybrid between standard indie rock and old-school post-punk centered around crunchy distorted guitar riffs and eerie synth accents. Then comes the somewhat unexpected album closer, "Malaysian Dream Doll", a mellow, uplifting, tender track centered around synth bleeps.

The Chills is a great collection of songs that are very well performed and produced while maintaining something of a lo-fi, laid back sound. The songwriting is generally quite strong and the lyrics, while at times seeming overly simplistic, work well by creating something of a fairytale-like simplicity that seems to fit the band's overall sound. While probably a bit too exotic to achieve much in the way of mainstream recognition, the band's great sound and cross-genre appeal will surely net them a formidable loyal fan base in the independent music scene. If this album is any indication of what's to come, I predict big things for Lazy Lane.

 

www.thelazylane.com

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