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Landing, "Brocade"

Landing's latest full length album is more of a single symphony than five separate tracks; Brocade is not a song-based album but one long continuous work. The music unwinds at a leisurely pace and is best appreciated all in one sitting.


Strange Attractors

Brocade is largely instrumental (only "How to be Clean" has any vocals) and is bathed in analog synthesizers with lots of guitar effects. There's an unmistakable '70s prog rock sound going on and the pure synths on "Music for Three Synthesizers" are very '80s sounding to me, but Landing keeps it modern and fresh, without playing like they're simply digging up old rock corpses. The music is hypnotic, repetitive, and layered, but by no means dull or heavy.


Despite the building layers it has a very open and spacious feel, a feel which is reinforced by titles like "Loft" and "Yon," bringing up images of empty skies and vast distances (echoed as well in the rather barren landscape on the album's cover). "Spiral Arms" is similarly well-named; if you could put a galaxy into sound, it might just sound like this. The static buzz carried over from "Yon" gives way to delicate acoustic guitar and electronic swoops and blowing winds. "How to be Clean" is a rocker and adds enough movement and energy to the mix to keep this guitar-rock girl happy.

I found it difficult to listen to Brocade at work; in addition to the usual cube farm noise and coworker interruptions, Winamp's pauses between tracks made the transitions jarring, most notably between "Yon" and "Spiral Arms" and between "Spiral Arms" and "How to be Clean." This is one to listen to at home with a glass of wine in a darkened room or on a long lonely car trip, and it's certainly not one for the iPod Shuffle.

 

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Review of the Day

THE DAMNED, "GRAVE DISORDER"
The common misconception about punk is that no one knew how to play. Truth is, many a band were solid from the start and became all the more accomplished with time. A good example is the turbulent, many membered, up and down, off and on again run of The Damned (which I'm a longtime fan of). And here we are a quarter century later, five years after the last album, with 13 new studio tunes. Finally, something new to add to the live set lists. Alongside vocalist Dave Vanian, fellow founding member Captain Sensible is finally back in the fold. Vanian's rich voice sounds as good as ever as he indulges in his gothic silver screen fantasies while the good Captain indulges in his own Floyd meets Hendrix guitar stylings. Monty Oxy Moron adds plenty of keys and bassist Patricia Morrison (Vanian's wife, ex-Gun Club and Sisters of Mercy) and new and improved drummer Pinch provide a strong rhythm section with backing vocals by all. "Grave Disorder" not only sounds fresh and new, it sounds like The Damned - that colorful mix of silly fun, romantic horror, melodic pop and punk rock. They sound great and every track is thumbs up. Lyrically they once again take the piss out of politicians, including barely elected Bush in "W", and religious fanatics, as well as internet junkies, John Lennon and Michael Jackson. "Democracy?" and "Would You Be So Hot (If You Weren't Dead?)" are instant classics with irresistible melodies. "Song.com" features some mean organ soloing and "Absinthe" some theremin atmosphere by Vanian. "Amen" winds down nicely with several minutes of beach side samples and synth. Captain's "Neverland", originally from his '96 solo album "Mad Cows & Englishmen", is re-recorded with Vanian on vocals. "Beauty of The Beast" is a classic Vanian piano ballad circa "Phantasmagoria", a fitting conclusion. It was worth the wait! Get the gold logo embossed digipack version with 12 page lyric insert if you can. The Damned are on tour in the States through early November then on to the UK for the rest of the year.

 

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