[sic] Magazine

Loner Deluxe – Hinterlands

Hot on the heels of 2021’s Field Recordings, we have more lo-fi electronic folk rock/alternative rock from Ireland courtesy of Loner Deluxe AKA Keith Wallace.

This time he’s once again exploring lo-fi psychedelic ideas best exemplified by songs such as ‘Nick Drake’s Sister In Space’, which delicately tips its cap to The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. Many ideas are extended, almost-hypnotic drones and jams, which are incorporated into layered male/female harmonies. Sometimes (such as on ‘Carbon Footprints In The Mud’) Keith sounds like a latter-day Michael Stipe with just the right amount of depth in his vocal to carry the song.

The album feels like his most realised work to date. It fuses many different ideas, and the album flows really well with a coherent feel throughout. Where the album takes a left turn into lo-fi post-rock on ‘Sea Glass’, for example, it fits seamlessly within the overall structure.

Elsewhere, tracks such as ‘We Used To Dance In The Sky’ have an otherworldly feel, mixing ‘70s-sounding synths with a pulsing rhythm. It could easily pass as an extract from a John Carpenter movie.

Keith uses voice samples and a range of instruments, but intentionally keeps the instrumentation stripped back and minimalist to allow the music to develop. Sometimes it comes across as a lo-fi version of Death In Vegas, mixing sounds over repeating, pulsing drone patterns.

The album arguably works because it rarely shifts up a gear in power between high and low volume – ideas are propagated and nurtured, but never overworked. ‘Bog Disco’ is a pulsing bass note in the key of G. Sounds and samples are then layered gently on top, like a house of cards. Similarly, ‘Dun Briste’ uses a repeating rhythm to great effect and low-key harmonies, acoustic guitar, keyboard and a circular electronic sound akin to a didgeridoo all layered on top.

A really interesting album that fans of lo-fi alternative music will likely really enjoy.