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  Static Patterns and Souvenirs  

Words on Music

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Now that Lorna have a stable lineup, they have been awfully productive. That is, even though Lorna has existed since 1997, they really weren't a band as such until a few years ago, at which time Lorna have released one album per year for the past three years (here i include the free album they gave away before having a recording contract). They are a slow, mellow, pop band, typified by light male/female vocal harmonies, strummed guitars, tapped drums, and meandering paces. Back in the day, we would have called Lorna a "slowcore" band, but i don't think that anyone uses that term anymore. At any rate, this isn't the most active music around, but rather it is pretty music for just sitting and listening.

In fact, well, if you have heard either of their previous releases, then you pretty much have heard what went into this album. Lorna aren't really pushing any boundaries in their music. They are still mapping out their own, polite and comfy little slowcore space, and that's good for them. They do what they do well, and it is still interesting enough to maintain my attention. That said, there are a couple of songs here that stand out from the crowd, four of the eleven tracks here that stand out among the best work that Lorna have done.

The first of these is the album's opener, Understanding Heavy Metal Parts I and II. This ironically titled song is actually pretty cool. (Get it -- a slowcore tune about Heavy Metal? This is quality slowcore humor here people, believe me.) It meanders at a happy pace for a while, then at the end Lorna add in some glitch pop, a la Hood. The end of the song is a nice mess of guitar, bass, and beats. It really works.

The Last Mosquito Fight of Summer features great drumming and wonderful harmonies. Again, towards the end the song gets kind of noodley, with some funky keyboard bits and lots of tremolo on the guitar. This is a fun little song, and i especially like Sharon Cohen's voice on this one, along with the low rumble of keys in the distant background and the frenetic brushed drumming.

The songs up until the mid point of the album move along at a fairly stately pace, but then we have Snow Song, which actually moves along pretty rapidly for Lorna. This song also features some really strong organ playing, so in general it's kind of different for them. Finally, the album ends with 2 strong tunes, He Dreams of Spaceships and Illuminations. The first of these is a lovely light pop tune with strong drumming, and some adorable horns at the end. The second, Illuminations, moves along comfortably for a bit, until suddenly the drum kicks it up a notch in urgency, the keys become a little more uneasy, and a mournful, muted trumpet comes in. It's a really beautiful end to the disc, and reminds me of The For Carnation in many ways.

Overall, Lorna have succeeded in combining Low, Belle and Sebastian, Hood, and The For Carnation into one seamless whole. It is a sound that really works for them, but even so on first listen, i thought that it sounded kind of generic for them. On deeper listening, the album does stand up as well as anything else they have ever done. I suspect that their fans, people who are used to listening patiently, will bear with the album until its inner charms are revealed, while i suspect that casual listeners will write this off early. That's a shame, but i am sure that Lorna don't mind. And i don't either, as long as they keep putting out these beautiful little albums...

Related Links:

Other Lorna releases:
     Album: Lorna
     Album: This Time, Each Year


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