Thursday 11th February: With no gig last weekend and nothing taking my fancy this weekend, it’s time for a CD review…
If there’s one thing that has to be said about the self-titled debut album from Lost From Atlas, it is that it successfully captures the almost mesmerising tone of the band’s live act without, perhaps, fully putting across the energy and exuberance seen on stage.
Just as in the live performance, the album tracks almost exclusively merge into each other and, if you aren’t watching the display on your CD player, most of the joins would be hard to spot. There is one transition that almost jars with its abruptness and another where the briefest silence can be “heard” but, for the most part, you could be listening to one extended track, so cleverly is the music put together.
Being a series of completely instrumental compositions, the individual tracks eschew the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure and, instead, the music ebbs, flows, shifts and changes like liquid sound. Each track seems to wind its way around a number of guitar riffs, played using a number of techniques. One riff may start a track, disappear off to be replaced by something different, only to reappear at the end, almost making it seem that the track has some full circle.
Each member of the band has their own part to play in the album. Liam Ledgeway on drums and Orlando Lloyd are a very solid rhythm section, with the vibrating bass and faux military drum-roll (which for some reason I can’t help but associate with a firing squad) on Interlude 1.0 showing, perhaps quietly, how effective such rhythms can be. For more lively examples of their skill listen for the drumming on album opener The Horse You Rode In On and the bass on Success. Perfect. Failure.
For me, however, it is the lead guitar of Danny Gallagher which stands out. Ranging from atmospheric to choppy, it is his riffs that the ear is automatically drawn to. From the echoing riffs of the aforementioned Success… to the finger-knotting of Man Is The Warmest Place To Hide (one of a number of track titles which seem to reference film or TV) he shows versatility and inventiveness in his playing.
This isn’t album without fault – there are one or two slight niggles. I’ve already mentioned the jarring transition between two of the tracks, another would be the constant cymbal-playing during Here At The End Of All Things, which I find slightly annoying and distracting. The main problem for me, though, is that the album is just too short. Weighing in at around 30 minutes, it might mimic the length (and content, as far as I can remember) of the live set but it really does leave you wanting more.
Strangely, though, the final track, Fin, while adding another five minutes to the running time, seems slightly out of place. The previous track ends the album perfectly with its pounding finale and then, almost immediately, the “Sturm und Drang” of the rest of the album gives way to acoustic “Strum and Pluck” for what is a really nice piece of music but that has a totally different feel to the rest of the album. It’s almost as though this should have been a “hidden” track, but there isn’t enough of a gap for that. (Thankfully, I have to say, those long silences can be irritating).
Overall, this is a superb debut from a band that are, in my experience, unique in their musical presentation. Buy it, sit yourself in the focal point of your speakers and let the music wash over you.
1: The Horse You Rode In On
2: For That Reason… I’m Out
3: Success. Perfect. Failure
4: Interlude 2.0
5: Tom Robinson Must Die
6: Interlude 1.0
7: Man Is The Warmest Place To Hide
8: Here At The End Of All Things
Additional guitar provided by David Lawrie on tracks 1, 5 and 8
Additional guitar provided by Liam Ledgeway on track 8.