lycia : in flickers [projekt.com]
more delicious cradling atmospherics from the arizona drylands on this, lycia’s eleventh studio album. a band whose uncompromising, resounding sound has often been described as cold and desolate, i see their role as warm, meditative blankets to envelop and timelessly be engulfed by. their magnificent new work bathes endless heat and as the first real icy chill of a coming new season is just hitting the uk the presence of this comforting glow is most welcome. anyone who’s immersed themselves within mike vanportfleet’s shimmering landscapes since projekt unleashed ionia in 1991 will have shared many emotions through his intense, caressing (sometimes crushing) environments. a steady progression of drenched guitars sensuously slowed and drawn, enigmatic keys, crisp percussion and mike’s uniquely forceful whispered voice continuously flood untrodden textures beyond ambience and post-rock. casually drowned in gothic black boxes by much of the media, lycia have always offered listeners so much more. exploring past experience, life’s immeasurable pathways and the perceived accelerating process aging presents on the mind this album draws on the past whilst moving vigourously forward. a truly collaborative work with david galas and john fair, familiar dense, electrically-charged layers tremble with a tight, shining intensity. any abrasive edges firmly left refined and subtle. from the opening title track which immediately draws close before moving into mesmeric calm and then release the whole flows along the exquisite beauty of a failure, the path and 34 palms, 25 years and rewrite’s harsh expressions and the stressing lilt of she and late night solitude’s gentle serenity. tara’s soft, haunting vocal tones augment throughout adding complete dynamic vibrancy. one possible surprise (possible, because it shouldn’t be a surprise) is the joyful, sequential drive of mist, possessing the kind of diversionary pop sensibility last witnessed on mark lanegan’s ode to sad disco. another artist usually consigned to the darkest recesses when melancholic truth can, in reality, actually be a happy leveller. also intriguing, the closing song is actually a cold outtake from 1996. a triumphal cascading end and new beginning, its title being a perfect summation of spiritual subject, sound and current moment in time. lycia have always risen above darkness and right now as autumn into winter fades with the sun at its highest, a renewed generational hope is felt. perhaps, if only personally fleeting, that’s a rare and inspirational chemical reaction to cling onto. even just in flickers.
available on vinyl, cd and dl