[sic] Magazine

De La Mancha – The End Of Music

Putting your best foot forward, making a good impression – De La Mancha do this with the opening one-two of ‘Golden Bells’, a brief swelling instrumental, and ‘Ursa Minor’, a deliriously lovely dream-pop floatathon. So far, so good. However, then we get ‘Under a Leaden Sky’, which features the unfortunate lyric, “Sleep forever in your black cocoon,” delivered in an uneasy, wavering tone. From thereon in, things occasionally get a bit too morose and colourless for my liking. But let’s rewind. Who are De La Mancha, anyway?

Well, chances are you’ve heard of Dag Rosenqvist , though you’d never guess he’s half of De La Mancha based on a cursory listen to The End Of Music . As Jasper TX , Rosenqvist is much more interested in darker, meandering atmospheres, looping and noise. I can’t make out his recognisable imprint on The End Of Music , so he must harbour a previously unheard proclivity for reflective indie-rock (unheard by me, at least). The other half of the band is the unfortunately named Jerker Lund . He’s the man responsible for the airy vocals and he does a pretty good job throughout. His only real mis-step is ‘Under a Leaden Sky’, when I lose faith in his ability to lead these songs through their patient arrangements. He sings in a manner in which it’s obvious English isn’t his first language, but this also means he doesn’t lapse into predictable rhyming tropes. (For me, vocalists most often slip up when they’re either trying to be clever or just carelessly chucking in lines that rhyme. I’m not too fussed about great lyrics, but bad lyrics are guaranteed to spoil things for me.)

Thankfully, in addition to ‘Ursa Minor’, there are other highpoints. Just as ‘Erase’ threatens to drag on too long, its lazily tuned acoustic guitar strumming away like a melancholy teenager, the song morphs into something unbelievably beautiful in its second half. Noise begins to swell in the background like a stormcloud, while a nagging, single-note piano riff joins the guitar in the foreground. By the time a beat comes in to carry the song home, I’m enraptured. The reverbed drums and modulated guitars of ‘What If Going Back Meant Coming Home?’ are pleasingly reminiscent of The Cure , too.

While I find it hard to recommend this album as a whole – overall it’s fairly downtempo and ponderous, and occasionally becomes disappointingly dull – there are some fantastic moments that are well worth seeking out.

De La Mancha