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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete
The Obsolete Chambers Julian Marszalek , March 3rd, 2014 06:39

As one of the highlights of the second and gloriously expanded Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia, it's fair to say that this, the third album from Mexican psychenauts Lorelle Meets The Obsolete and the first to cross the Atlantic into Europe, bears more than the heavy weight of expectation. Like a dose from a fine autumn harvest from the Welsh hills, Lorelle And The Obsolete have crept steadily from creating a mild buzz to a full-on mind altering change of perception that lingers long after the return of perceived reality.

Their appearance with 'Medicine To Cure Medicine Sickness' on the excellent Psyche For Sore Eyes compilation EP just over a year ago was the first sign that something special was stirring while its follow-up single, the gnarled and twisted psyche-pop joy that was 'What's Holding You?', confirmed the arrival of a major force in the ever-expanding world of psychedelic music. To describe 'Chambers' as an affirmation would be to damn the album with faint praise.

Much like the duo at the heart of the band – singer-guitarist Lorena Quintanilla is Lorelle, all mangled and treated guitars with an almost insouciant vocal delivery, while Alberto Gonzalez keeps the beats and pretty much everything else in order – this is an album of two distinct halves. On the one side is where melodic sensibilities are used as a launch pad for sonic explorations that twist and turn and, at times, perplex, yet deliver on a level that basks in a sense of heady joy. The other side finds the band eschewing this approach to swandive headlong into a pool of experimentation and aural architecture to create vistas that thrill as much as they terrify.

Throughout is a feeling of primitivism and feral playing that, while hinting at garage rock's most elemental nuggets, never once feels as if it's looking over its shoulders to ensure that conformity to orthodoxy is maintained. Indeed, such is the brutality on display here that this is less a case of light and shade but varying degrees of darkness. So for every moment of hook-laden melodic intervention – see 'I Can't Feel The Outside' and 'Thoughts About Night Now' – there are shock treatments that unnerve yet seduce. 'Third Wave' a brooding, oscillating drones that creeps with stealth and menace, is a case in point and this approach is deployed to devastating effect on '13 Flowers'.

'Sealed Scene' is where Lorelle And The Obsolete fuse the two approaches into one unholy onslaught. Quintanilla's guitar becomes a howling siren, acting as a warning for the harnessed madness that's to follow. With darkness clawing and reaching out in swathes of heavy reverb and echo, the effect disorientates and exhilarates in equal measure.

Chambers is an album that benefits from a forward-looking vision as much as it does by the guiding hands of drone meisters Cave's Cooper Crain who recorded the album and the mixing and mastering of psyche overlord Pete 'Sonic Boom' Kember. That it heralds the arrival of singular talent in an ever-growing field is a cause for celebration.

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