[sic] Magazine

Lyndon Scarfe – Shoreline.

Lyndon Scarfe – Shoreline.

Lyndon Scarfe is fast becoming one of music’s’ men for all seasons. Having been an integral member of gothic, post-punk legends The Danse Society, Lyndon then popped back onto our radar with The Black Lamps, a superb blending of shoegaze, dreampop and post-punk revival that scored an album of the year here in 2015. Since then he has remained active, exploring more ambient pastures. His Layers EP was a perfect example of textured IDM and drone, or as he puts it, “soundtracks to films that have not yet been made”. Lyndon re-emerged last year with the full length [retreat] album. [retreat] was the collaborative project with Sam Horton mashing electronics and field recordings with the spoken word. It remains highly recommended.

So to this Shoreline album which again sees Scarfe exploring more downtempo, contemplative….well…shores. This is an album truly borne out of covid19 lockdown. Housebound, with time on his hands, Lyndon began yearning for the ocean and, in particular, one favourite stretch of coastline he was now barred from visiting. To know something beautiful is there, just out of reach is a powerful emotion. Those feelings were the inspiration for these compositions.

Shoreline is a mature, heartfelt collection of highly minimal pieces. It is also very accessible. Those daunted by the prospect of some internalized, brainiac IDM need not worry at all. The drone element here is not intrusive. As its title suggests Shoreline is an elemental listen. Thematically it somewhat recalls Last Days debut album, Sea. The coast and tides were never far from my thoughts when I listened. ‘Starlings’, near to the beginning has a Hammock vibe to it. ‘Herons’ feels like a lost ambient masterwork every bit the equal of a Budd or Eno. Yet it was Shoreline‘s central trio of ‘Going Back’, ‘Shallow’ and ‘Imperfect’ that probably pleased me most. Anyone who has spent time, alone, by the coast, really looking at the water and the way the sunlight glistens thereon – you’re half way toward understanding this sequence. As the water/light combination starts to become hypnotic other visions can come through. In Shoreline’s case, those ‘visions’ comprise emergent melodies that are in turn melancholic, optimistic and in the case of ‘Imperfect’ downright heavenly.

Shoreline is a work of understated majesty and I hope listeners find their way to this one.


The Black Lamps