[sic] Magazine


Considering its personnel, Beirut and Sufjan Stevens collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Ben Lanz, as well as The National’s bassist and drummer Scott and Bryan Devendorf, LNZNDRF (Lanzendorf) is an unexpected project in terms of how it most commonly sounds. Straight off the bat, it sounds nothing like the former’s hereto date work, only a little like the latter’s and lot like electro-kraut. So too, then, is 4AD’s involvement perhaps also notable. LNZNDRF is certainly not traditional 4AD material, but quite how much we can read into that is debatable considering their recent output has been all over the map anyway, which brings us neatly back to LNZNDRF.

An album of eight patient jams, five of which are over six minutes in length – reputedly edits from much longer improv sessions, it rumbles from instrumental psyche repeats and space-rock whooshes to epic indie-rock swells, experimental percussive shuffles, naff vocal effects and even an out-of-place psyche-funk bouncer that has more similarities with Unknown Mortal Orchestra than anything else. As a result the album feels unbalanced and fragmented, yet, front-loaded offerings in particular, there are sufficient silver linings amongst its many clouds.

Distorted synths scan the underbelly of “Future You”, for example, the track’s electronic throb exploding into full kraut precision as uplifting rays of guitar puncture the solemn void. Similarly the dark, industrial-edged “Samarra” really turns the screw, becoming more and more insistent before unravelling into white noise and cross-frequency static. A vocal in the standout “Beneath The Black Sea” vocal adds a weighty dose of moroseness to a less muscular but none-too-different palette – the result not unlike the Devendorfs’ parent band gone kosmische post-punk, subtle guitars dancing around like dappled sunlight through a heavy canopy. It’s a shame the boys couldn’t have been this consistent throughout.

Best track: “Beneath The Black Sea”

~LNZNDRF is released February 19th 2016 via 4AD.~