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Lonker See
Hamza Julian Marszalek , February 18th, 2020 08:12

The fourth studio album from Polish post-rockers Lonker See makes a significant step up, finds Julian Marszalek

Following their previous modus operandi of extended wig outs formulated from studio-based improvisation, one suspects that continuing in that vein would’ve been the easy way forward for Lonker See. After all, many are the bands that mine a groove for all that it’s worth. Yet what’s evident on Hamza, the band’s third full-length studio album, is that in challenging and changing their working methods, the band are moving into all together far more interesting territories.

Touring the length and breadth of Europe, the Gdynia-based quartet has been evolving into a formidable beast. Their touchstone remains psychedelia informed by spacerock and jazz, but here elements of post-rock are also making their presence felt. And crucially, Lonker See are writing their material from scratch, rather than seeing what develops from their explorations.

The result is an album that leaps straight into the action. Whereas the epic pieces that informed their previous album, One Eye Sees Red, unfolded gradually and methodically, here the band gets to the heart of the matter in much shorter time. Though the eldritch opener, ‘Infinite Garden’, moves in mystery and shadows, its delivery is at sharp odds at what’s preceded it on previous releases, not least with bassist Joanna ‘Asia’ Kucharska taking a greater presence and role behind the mic.

Likewise the pumping ‘Open And Close’, that takes advantage of Kucharska’s mellifluous vocal tones and sets them in tandem with her solid bass playing and drummer Michał Gos’ rhythmic foundations. Guitarist Bartosz ‘Boro’ Borowski and saxophonist Tomasz Gadecki adopt a subtle approach through a series of undulating guitar lines and snaking melodies before the whole band explodes into a miasma of strident force in the second half of the song.

Best of all is the fabulously mutating centerpiece, ‘Put Me Out’. Spread over nine minutes, the gently understated and rippling guitar motif dances around the skittering drums as the song methodically and effectively rises from a whisper to a scream as Borowski and Gadecki come to intertwine further down the line.

By reeling in their more improvisational tendencies, Lonker See are making the most of their core musical strengths. It also gives them more to say while displaying a growth that bodes well for the future. Where they go to next will be an interesting journey to follow, but this is a significant point on their ongoing excursion.