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Album Review

by Lontalius

Papaiti Records

Review Date
17th July 2012
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

In New Zealand, depression isn't so much an emotion as a pass time - we like dark shit. Introspective music is well respected here, especially when it comes to guitar-based stuff. Somebody alone in his or her room venting musically is an important cultural commodity, and so it should be. Lontalius' latest release Tunnels, taps into this cultural vein and successfully inhabits the form while finding room for subtle innovations.

With a strong lo-fi aesthetic, Lontalius maintains a simplicity well suited to his style and sound. Simple repetitive and droning guitar or organ lines are underpinned by 8-bit drum samples with partially submerged vocals completing the picture. This is something I could imagine a valium-soaked Peter Jefferies having a go at. Fortunately, it’s not all just style at the expense of substance: the songs are good too. 'Sort It Out' is probably the most readily accessible track, due to its atypical upbeat tone but the opening pairing of 'Adore Us' / 'Ignore Us' is a better combo with their chant-like vocal repetitions setting the emotional tone for the whole album. It’s an anachronistic mix of sound and style that while appearing current could just as easily be twenty years old.

Tunnels is a good record. It has a droney warmth that envelopes you and it's minimalist charm keeps you there.  Straight forward and unpretentious, the album has an understated nature that draws you back in for more. It's free to download from bandcamp so you don’t really have an excuse for not listening to it.



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