This is Lycia's unfinished
symphony -- the last recordings by a band that helped pioneer the genre
known as darkwave. In the late 80's & early 90's, Lycia created
an ethereal segue between gothic & atmospheric music genres without
even intending to do so. With the new century well underway, Lycia
is no more. But thanks to Silber, their fans can experience once
again the thrill of a new album from the group. Although the band
broke up before Empty Space was completed, it certainly holds its
own among contemporary ambient pop releases. It also measures up
equally among other Lycia releases, though it is lighter & happier
in its overall sentiment. Michael VanPortfleet's intense whispery
vocals alternate with Tara's edgy, pretty voice; all even numbered tracks
are purely instrumental, showcasing beautiful guitar melodies, haunting
effect based echoes, & full-bodied distortion. Such is Lycia's
signature sound: the eerie combination of the clear melodic line &
the echoey tonal backdrop to those melodic riffs. The mechanized
percussion on Empty Space is more upbeat & the harmonics are
more joyful than on prior recordings -- perhaps this is an ironic twist
to the concurrent fate of the band? With Empty Space, Lycia
had the chance for a graceful & dignified goodbye, & they did not
waste the oppurtunity.
~ Lara Haynes, Outburn
I won't watch horror films
during the day. Its not that you can't enjoy horror during the day (at
least not on a sunny California day like I've been used to for the past
several years) but come on, the light is shining, people are stirring about,
worse comes to worse I can just leave my house and all will somehow be
less creepy. The night is the perfect time for high-contrast lighting,
things that look like other things, and more things popping out of nowhere.
I don't often feel this way about music because I just don't find most
music creepy, even music that somehow sets out to be as such (though it
seems like there isn't as much of that as there used to be). However, if
you want creepy, nighttime-enhanced music then look no further than Arizona's
veteran-Darkwavers Lycia (probably a creepier place to live than you may
realize), and also when rifling through the discography make sure to make
a stop at 2003's Empty Space.
For certain moods I have
specific albums I like to listen to because when you're feeling a certain
way you just don't have the time to start sampling things and this album
fulfills that dark need in me. This isn't even to say brooding (for that
I have other albums) but rather much like how I described that creepy nighttime
feeling. To me this album brings about feelings that zombies are going
to start coming out of the woodwork or the infected will begin running
at me ala 28 Days Later. I always think the last track of this album, <span>"The
End"</span> (how fitting) is reminiscent of the song playing in the
film when Jim is enacting his plan against the military guys (or I'm not
sure if it'd be the other way around as this album was released in 2003
but recorded in 1999 and the film came out in 2002 but I'm not sure when
that song was recorded, so let's just leave that tidbit ambiguous).
What I think appreciate
the most about this album, and perhaps Lycia in general is that their process
seems closer to the way fine artists would work in that you get the appropriate
tools for the particular song. At times you may get guitarist/found
Mike VanPortfleet's vocals that are really subtle and intimate while others
are more appropriate for the distinctly haunting Tara Vanflower (be sure
to check out her solo work by the way) and some songs don't need any vocals
at all. More traditional bands work much more similar to narrative
filmmaking, which is to say that if you have a vocalist then you use it
(though it certainly is common to have songs that only feature the vocalist
and maybe a synth or guitars...poor bassists and drummers of the world).
I think this way of working allows Lycia to maximize potential for songs
because nothing feels forced and everything is unexpected. Though
I do miss the vocals when they aren't present as Vanflower's voice really
brings the work to another level and very much in the same vein as Siouxsie
Sioux. VanPortfleet's vocals are a little more sporadic but they
add a great texture to the album, particularly on the aforementioned "The
Part of what really solidifies
the whole package to me are the little moments such VanPortfleet's vocals
on "Not Here, Not Anywhere" or the popping effect (perhaps a woodblock
or castanets, unless I'm way off) on "Violent Violet", or just that constant
guitar riff throughout the album that sounds just off enough to put the
listener in a state of unease (in a positive way). Each member of
the band has great moments on the album with an attention to detail.
In that sense its like you have four separate artists all working together
like an well-oiled machine from the aforementioned work by VanPortfleet
and Vanflower to John Fair's off-kilter percussion work, David Galas' post-punk
Lycia has done a great job
of continuing to transform over the years while maintaining a signature
sound that has helped sustain fanbase (including Trent Reznor) while growing
as artists and as a collective. This was the last album until the
band recently released on online exclusive EP so I hope this is a sign
that their work will continue until those that make the music feel its
time to hang it up, and in that case they all have great side/solo-projects
that are worth checking out. But to me this may stay for a long time
as my favorite Lycia album.
~ Jay Kantor, Album A Day
Surprisingly, this is Lycia
as a quartet: leader Mike VanPortfleet (guitars/vocals), Tara Vanflower
(vocals), David Galas (bass), and John Fair (drum programs). Though released
in 2003, this consists of 1999 recordings. The old members were brought
back to make it, but the band broke up (yet again) before completing the
LP. Aside from Vanflower¹s presence, this does sound more like early
Lycia; the drum programming alone screams ¹80s (in a good way). Whatever
the circumstances, it¹s great that Empty Space finally came out, and
four "unfinished" tracks remaining instrumentals should bother nobody.
"Hope Is Here" is one of the catchiest songs they¹ve ever made, and
the album stands as a strong final effort by one of the great goth bands,
with the closing track entitled "This Is the End."
~ Jack Rabid, The Big Take
Hailing from Arizona, this
band has already split up, leaving us this album as a kind of testament.
The sound & influences of Lycia have to be found in the darkest hours
of the 80s guitar-wave movement. I don’t really want to compare them
to any particular band of that golden decade, but the few songs sung by
their female vocalist may remind you of Cocteau Twins & others.
I like the dark atmospheres of the guitar play & the kind of floating
& melancholic expression of their sound. The work of Lycia sounds
pretty close to the typical UK coldness of the 80s. A song like the
deeply melancholic “Bloody Basin” & the instrumental “The Long Drive”
are very good exponents of their work!
~ Stephane Froidcouer, Side
Lycia has traveled a long
way in their career. Not only have they made increasingly cold and introspective
works becoming darker despite the filtered sunlight permeating their sound
but they have also traveled literal miles. They have crawled the landscape
from Arizona to Ohio and back again and their music has changed because
of it. By the time of 'tripping...", Lycia has explored every dust-filled
corner of our psyche and has filled our minds with melodies that were both
frightening and comforting at the same time.
Comprised largely of Mike
VanPortfleet and Tara Vanflower, who have become the heart and soul of
Lycia, this band 's original sound was never duplicated because, quite
simply, music this complex cannot be duplicated without being torn apart
at the seams and inspected by the children of our souls. What Lycia could
do in terms of misted introspection requires an immensity of effort, an
effort that even worked at the fabric of Lycia.
With VanPortfleet's grasp
and control of the eerie components of his instruments and Tara's incredibly
floating ethereal voice, Lycia becomes a whole creature that knows the
clothed and hidden parts of our lives because it has lived them.
The work of Empty Space
is embryonic because it is a return to the genesis of Lycia, a back pedal
to the rhythmed pulse of a heart that refuses to die and yet won't wake
up. Called the final release from Lycia, Empty Space reveals a yearning
to become a happier entity if even for fleeting moments. Its rawness is
exhilarating despite the fact that it is an unfinished work.
With cascading guitars and
whispered lyrics, Empty Space explores the past with stop-overs for Estrella
and Cold. Where Cold was iced fear in a limitless and vast arctic spread,
Empty Space is a thawing place with shafts of sunlight breaking through
the battleship grey clouds. The tap, tap, tap that begins "Not Here, Not
Anywhere" lurches into a fast and happy merge of a trip that culminates
in extinction. It has the feel of a knowledgeable run to a void that subtracts.
Perhaps fitting in that Lycia plans no more music as Lycia thus a run into
an unknowing void.
I'm especially intrigued
by "You Can Never Go Home Again" as the title suggests, rightfully so,
that once you're away, the home you return to has indelibly changed and
is no longer home. You're relegated to grasping at wispy remembrances that
are almost there but can never be intimately held and cherished again.
Tara is first heard in a
beautifully sung song that is amongst their best short song efforts. "Persephone"
offers the signature Lycia sound while her vocals explore pop styled tones.
Her ability to effectively capture a moment as heard on "Persephone" is
talent. The song is extraordinary in its presentation.
The album ends with "This
is the End", a deliberate finish to a great band who would finish on their
own terms. The song itself is nicely structured work with the haunting
"I remember..." The rest of Empty Space is pure Lycia with its hands dipped
into the heart of Estrella as can be heard by "Bloody Basin" as compared
to Estrella's "El Diablo".
Lycia's music is the soundtrack
of the spirit. Lycia's ability to explore the full psychology of our hope,
dreams, depressions, and disappointments is extraordinary. Lycia itself
is the unexplored beauty of humanity and its frightened child. And while
Empty Space may not represent their best work, it nevertheless is a necessary
visitation of their existence and a glimpse into their own hopes and dreams."
~ Matt Rowe, MusicTap
Originally recorded in 1999
as Lycia's final studio album and shelved for years due to various factors
(including problems with their former label), Empty Space is now getting
the release it deserves on Silber Records. Picking up after Estrella
(Tripping Back into the Broken Days technically being a release
by side-project Estraya that was released under Lycia due to label pressure),
this 42-minute disc is an epic career-spanning release.
Featuring something of a
reunion lineup of Lycia members past and present, Empty Space returns
to the ethereal layered guitar sound and intricate retro drum programming
of the band's earliest days (I'm talking Wake-era) while retaining the
more upbeat melodies and song structures of their more recent material,
most notably The Burning Circle and Then Dust and Estrella.
Despite blending elements of some ten years of history, all of the pieces
fall into place, creating a comfortable, familiar blend. John Fair's drum
programming seems to have changed little since Lycia's early days and sounds
perfectly at home here. David Galas provides the usual competent bass anchor.
Mike VanPortfleet's trademark layered processed guitars and moody semi-whispered
vocals are as strong as ever. Tara Vanflower's vocals sound fairly close
to her work on Estrella, but with a slightly altered timbre and
vibrato that's slightly reminiscent of Miranda Sex Garden's Katharine Blake.
The nine songs that form
Space consist of five tracks with vocals and four instrumentals. They
maintain a somewhat moody atmosphere overall but also have a fairly consistent
upbeat vibe and occasionally even showcase pop sensibilities and almost
catchy melodic content. Despite the album's somewhat retro Lycia sound,
fans looking for another bleak offering along the lines of Ionia
or A Day in the Stark Corner won't find it here. Instead, Lycia
fans will find a happy medium between the past and present, effectively
rolling the band's diverse catalogue into one all-encompassing, definitive
In a way, Empty Space
is the perfect final album, bringing the band's work around full circle
and allowing their evolution to take them back to their roots. From the
atmospheric opening of "Not Here, Not Anywhere" to the fadeout of the appropriately
titled "This Is The End", Lycia's short-but-sweet swan song is the album
fans have been waiting for, flawed only by the fact that it leaves you
hungering for more that will likely never come.
~ Joshua Heinrich, Grave
If you liked Lycia’s first
two releases, Ionia and A Day in the Stark Corner, then this
is a compact disc that you’ll fall in love with. This being the album
that was recorded for Projekt records before the band broke up, and never
quite having been finished, is still a much more polished and stimulating
piece of work than many of the ‘fully finished’ albums that I’ve heard
Track number 4, "Fur and
Thistle," and track number 8, "The Long Drive" seem to be the standout
tracks from this album. This is a CD that bears repeated listening
from beginning to end to get the full effect of the emotional whirlwind.
Mike and Tara taking turns
at lead vocals is a very refreshing sound, even fifteen years after first
hearing Lycia. This goes to prove that many times less really is
more. Please support Silber Media and add the final Lycia release
to your collection.
~ Azrael Racek, Gothic Revue
I suppose it's a bit strange
to review a CD that is essentially unfinished. But such is the case with
this, Lycia's "long lost" final album. Although work originally began on
what was to become Empty Space back in 1999, various setbacks and
problems ensued, eventually resulting in Mike VanPortfleet (who was Lycia's
driving force throughout its existence) dissolving the band for good. In
2001, VanPortfleet finished up the final mixes, but the album sat on the
shelves for another year and a half before it was picked up by the longtime
fans over at Silber.
Because of the album's rather
truncated recording, it's pretty raw and unfinished in places, more a work
in progress suspended in time than anything else. Songs like "Persephone",
"Violent Violet", and the aptly-titled "This Is The End" feel less like
complete tracks and more like rehearsals or demos that were recorded as
the band was feeling out different lyrics, melodies, guitar effects, and
programming patterns. As a result, one wonders if Empty Space might
not have made a better EP, rather than a full-length.
However, even the songs'
rough forms contain a few surprises that hint at what might've been had
the album been completed. Curiously infectious melodies coalesce during
"Fur & Thistle"'s bridge, sounding vaguely Lush-esque and practically
begging for an ethereal female voice to coo alongside them. Likewise, "The
Long Drive"'s downward spiralling guitars create some very evocative moments.
"Hope Is Here" features
VanPortfleet's best vocal performance on the album - which is somewhat
ironic because his whispers are best when they're barely audible, instead
just floating there on the song's periphery, tickling your consciousness
like tiny little fingers. And "Bloody Basin", as befitting the rather morose
lyrics, is shrouded in icy synthwork so chill-inducing it might lower the
room temperature by a few degrees.
Even in this skeletal form,
there's a primal, almost timeless quality to Empty Space that I
find rather captivating. Although the lyrics can sometimes get a bit on
the pretentious side - in some circles, such goth-y lines as "Catching
the corpse before she falls/Watching her crack apart the china doll" are
bound to inspire a black eyeliner joke or two - the music has a darkly
beautiful pull all its own, with its shimmering, serpentine guitar melodies,
chilly synths, and VanPortfleet's spectral vocals breathing down your neck.
It's unabashedly backwards-looking
(even moreso than those young pups in Interpol), hearkening back to the
late 70's/early 80's, when post-punk bands were delving into darker atmospherics
and textures and producing some truly timeless music. And I'm not just
referring to Joy Division's Closer or The Cure's Faith and Pornography,
but also to the nascent recordings of 4AD groups like The Cocteau Twins
and Dead Can Dance (whose influences on Lycia have been well-documented
elsewhere, I'm sure).
I can't imagine there not
being some disappointment with the album, if only because of what it could've
been. But even so, it should serve as a healthy reminder to any fan (of
Lycia and/or any of the aforementioned groups) of what draws them to this
sort of music in the first place.
~ Jason Morehead, Opuszine
Lycia began life in 1988
in Tempe, Arizona as a solo project of Mike VanPortfleet. Soon becoming
a band, Lycia recorded several albums over the years, experiencing several
lineup changes, until 1999 when VanPortfleet ended the band and retired
from music during the recording of Empty Space, which now sees the
light of day thanks to the folks at Silber. Joining VanPortfleet (guitar
& vocals) on Empty Space are John Fair on drum programs, David Galas
on bass and Tara Vanflower on vocals. I've not heard any of Lycia's other
albums but the promo sheet notes say that Empty Space is the closest
Lycia has come to making a pop-oriented album.
The music in some respects
recalls 80's synth-pop, but by that I don't mean fluffy Flock Of Seagulls
or that kind of crap. The melodies are indeed catchy, but Lycia have a
darker, gothic sound, heavy on atmosphere and with a spacey ethereal vibe.
There's a simplicity to the music but the melodies are completely absorbing
and the soaring guitar notes inject a cosmic edge into the music that can
only be called pop because of the melodic style. Mike sings on some tracks
and Tara on others, both making their mark on the songs while retaining
the distinct Lycia sound. Tara's vocals have a punky but pleasant feel
which (particularly on the song "Persephone") reminds me of Deb Young from
Architectural Metaphor (that'll attract the space rock fans attention).
The songs with Mike's vocals tend to be heavier on the gothic influences,
"Hope Is Here" being a highlight and one of my favorite tunes of the set.
Lycia also excel at instrumentals, a standout track being the spacey "You
Can Never Go Home Again". Overall a good mixture of spacey gothic influences
in a pop context. If these are among their more pop-oriented songs I'd
be interested in hearing some of their other work.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
Lycia is a music project
of Mike VanPortfleet that's been rolling (sometimes more smoothly than
others) since 1988. While its sound has evolved a lot over the years, Lycia
has always been dark, both musically and lyrically. The most recent incarnation
of Lycia features John Fair, David Galas, and Tara Vanflower as well as
VanPortfleet, most of whom have been involved with Lycia and assorted other
VanPortfleet projects since the mid 90s.
Most of the music on Empty
Space features heavily processed vocals, guitar, and drums alongside
droning synth noises and repetitive melodies. The track order repeats a
basic lyrical song/instrumental song/lyrical song pattern that explores
the sound of Empty Space thoroughly. All of the instrumental tracks
feature repeating, looping melodies and synthed-out ambience. Lyrics are
usually (read: always) dark, with a strong sense of melancholy, futility,
and a disaffected attitude. The title of the CD is highly indicative of
the emotional content of the album.
"Not Here, Not Anywhere"
opens the album with a long exploration of the alienation that human beings
tend to feel when our immediate social group is not made up of our peers
- the sort of intense antisocial separation most predominant during puberty
and the teenage carnage that follows. For some it ends, for others, it
is merely the start of a long downward spiral. "Persephone" seems to smash
pagan worship, sex, physical violence, and self-confidence issues into
one bloody, nasty mess. "This is the End" repeats the line "I feel nothing"
over and over as a chorus.
There is a layer of cold,
modern indifference and apathy smeared across every note on this album.
Perfectly dismal ambient and gothic music that never misses a beat on its
march through Death Valley by moonlight.
~ Delusions of Adequacy
A good way to describe some
music is by saying that it's like a certain object. For instance, later-era
Pink Floyd sounds like a battered, faded old military uniform. Radiohead
sounds like an amorphous lump of pale, waxy plastic, and Sigur Rós
sound like a grass-covered mountain peak in a sea of mist. Lycia, on the
other hand, sound like nothing. Well, not nothing, but something, that
something being nothing. Or the complete absence of anything at all. That's
what Lycia sound like.
Empty Space is the
latest album from Lycia, a rotating-member project that centres around
Mike Van Portfleet. Like previous outings by the band, the music here is
dark, bleak, and austere, each piece of music having only enough substance
to convey an aura of hopelessness and despair.
The first track on the album,
"Not Here, Not Anywhere," pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the
album. Echoed synths and a frantic, unnerving beat coalesce together, while
Van Portfleet's vocals hover around the periphery of the song, suggesting
more than they actually say. Songs like "Persephone" have more than a dash
of early punk influence with its female vocals, and This Is The End hits
new depths of despair with its constantly repeating mantra "This is the
end, this is the end, this is the end", producing a genuinely chilling
Unfortunately, while there
are a few good ideas on this album, they are eclipsed by tracks that sound
as if they're only half-finished. Lycia went through quite a lot of chaos
while this record was being recorded, and split at the end of it. The album
was shelved for a few years before it was finally mixed and released, which
might account for the fact that some of the songs here sound more like
demos than fully completed songs.
Still, from the good moments
that you hear here, it's obvious that if the band had stuck together, they
would have had another great album on their hands. As it stands, Empty
Space is full of potential, but it's potential that will now sadly
never be fulfilled.
~ Michelle Gallaway, Halo
I'll be the first to admit
that Lycia is not everyone's cup of tea. They have a definite song and
production style and they stick pretty steadily to it. Those familiar with
the work of Jesus & Mary Chain will know what I'm talking about here.
Even when I first heard them, I was less than impressed. Awash in reverb
and often-indecipherable whispered vocals, their songs seemed to simply
melt into a homogenous sound with one track indistinguishable from the
It wasn't until I listened
further that I realized that, despite their ambient and ethereal feel,
these were not songs you could just simply gloss over. That their attraction
lay in the intricate details of the song. Like a fine wine, where you need
to appreciate not just the grapes, but the undertones brought about by
the soil and the climate in which they were grown, and the barrels in which
they were stored. This was mature, rich music, not for the cheap drunks.
In an odd turn, it's the
sparing use of these subtleties that makes Empty Space such a great
album, especially for those just getting into the band. Though only recently
released, Empty Space was actually recorded back in 1999, shortly
before the band broke up and, because of such, it lay incomplete until
Silber Records picked it up, dusted it off, and released it in late 2003.
Since the album is, in fact, unfinished, it has a certain raw power that
I was pleasantly suprised by.
It's also far more pop-oriented
than their previous works. The melodies and hooks are pushed to the front,
portending a direction I would have really enjoyed seeing the band explore
further. But, it's also feels very unfinished at times, with substitute
nonsense lyrics still intact and often meager production values making
it come across as a dark 80's garage band, instead of long-running act.
In many ways, I think this gives the album a certain endearing charm, but
others might be less sympathetic.
When it comes down to it,
I'm ecstatic that this album was given a chance to see the light of day.
Fans of Lycia will love the chance to savor one more album from them and
it's also an excellent entrance point for newcomers to discover what they
were missing out on. Thank you Silber Records!
~ Patrick Coleff, Blog Critics
I can't say I was ever the
world's biggest goth fan. I'll give credit to the hardcore kiddies that
love the stuff, however; the look that went with the love certainly alienated
me as much as a devoted punk's aesthetic might drive away a disco freak.
Not that the fashion drove me away completely. I had friends in high school
who were into the goth scene, and in my college days I certainly spent
enough time at my favorite dance club, even on Monday nights, which were
the designated goth night of the week. But the whole dressing in black
thing (which I actually did quite a bit at one point, but I must give credit
to James Spader playing the character Graham in sex, lies, and videotape
for inspiring that fashion choice and not the Goths), wallowing in a kind
of self-centered apathy that was more put on than pure, and listening to
the likes of Peter Murphy, Siouxsie Sioux, et al. only went so far to bringing
me any satisfaction.
Not that I haven't dabbled
here and there in goth music. I still own my "Bela Lugosi's Dead" single
by Bauhaus, and I do own both of the Siouxsie compilations. I've always
been a fan of the Cure, but I prefer their poppier stuff over their melancholy
work, and will always feel that Boys Don't Cry is their best album. And
I've always loved the Cocteau Twins, though again, more for their work
from blue bell knoll to Milk and Kisses than most of their early, gothic-tinged
work such as Garlands and Head over Heels, though I will confess a secret
love for their early EPs over those first albums.
And that brings us to Lycia.
The band was formed back in 1988, with Mike VanPortfleet being the constant
throughout the years. Band members come and go, including John Fair, Will
Welch, David Galas, and perhaps most importantly, Tara Vanflower, who joined
the group in 1994 and added the female spark to the group. However, the
band was always ridden with personal conflict, and the members would often
quit and rejoin, only to quit again in the middle of album projects. Empty
Space was such a project. Recorded in 1999, the sessions fell apart due
to more personal woes and was not completed until 2001 by VanPortfleet,
remaining shelved until December of 2003 when Silber released the album
after Lycia parted ways with their original label, Projekt.
So what we have here is
an older release of sorts, but I must say -- and I may be completely wrong
here since I'm not an expert in the genre -- that I've often found that
the whole goth genre has its own sound that sort of self-contains its groups
and creates this musical vacuum. That is, just because this work was recorded
a few years back doesn't make it sound dated. After all, do the Cocteau
Twins' first albums really sound like anything else before or since? That's
exactly what Empty Space is like. In fact, a number of songs here, such
as "Not Here, Not Anywhere" sound like a sort of mid-period Cocteau Twins,
where the band was weighing the goth with the lush pop they would embrace
The instrumental "You Can
Never Go Home Again" sounds like something that crept out of gothland circa
1985 with its insistent electronic drums and jangling doom-laden guitar
notes. Tara Vanflower makes her first appearance on "Persephone" and sings
lines like "Catching the corpse before she falls / Watching the crack upon
the China doll shatter the time" as quasi-tribal beats and minor keys play
out their sinister tones in the back. OK, so maybe that's another thing
that pushed me away from liking this kind of stuff as well; the lyrics
and the whole haunted house atmosphere.
It's certainly a quality
that drowns songs like "Hope Is Here", where VanPortfleet whispers his
words as the band cranks out another spooky atmosphere. But how much of
this sound can one enjoy? Especially when there are other instrumentals
on here, like "Fur & Thistle", that sound no different from "Not Here,
Not Anywhere" and "You Can Never Go Home Again". And really, that's the
problem with this album. Everything just sounds the same. By the time you've
reached such obvious tracks as "Violent Violet" and "Bloody Basin", you
feel like you've sat through the same song on repeat.
The right folks will undoubtedly
love this kind of thing. For me, I need a little more variety if I'm going
to bend an ear towards this genre. Overall, the sound is just too repetitive
and skeletal at best to even warrant keeping this disc in my personal collection.
But, if you go for this kind of confection, then it would probably be straight
up your alley. So chalk another one up for the goths who will continue
to keep a large group of music fans at bay with their insular ways
~ Jason Thompson, PopMatters
Raro disco, el inicio de
"Not Here..." tiene tintes de electrónica ambiental (gracias a efectos
en la guitarra y sonidos sintéticos), algunos chispazos progresivos,
una voz susurrante a cargo de Mike VanPortfleet. Una batería bien
programada y un mood muy oscuro... goth. No sabes qué es lo que
va a pasar y no hay más que esperar a lo que depare el disco, que
continúa con una interesante instrumental en "You Can Never Go Home
Again" que de nuevo parecería llevarte a un "ambient electrónico",
este track ilumina un poco el mood dark del track anterior, dije "un poco".
Los lamentos y de Tara Vanflower
en algunos pasajes de "Persephone" regresan lo goth, lo dark al sonido
del disco. Sigue otro track instrumental que intenta iluminar el ambiente
gótico (que muchos disfrutarán) del disco. La casi monótona
"Fur & Thistle".
El disco continúa
con "Hope Is Here" con los siseos de VanPortfleet susurrando y envolviendo
el track. El tono cambia de manera casi imperceptible, pero mantiene el
sonido que está tratando de manejar la banda (en ocasiones puede
llegar a haber algo de Persephone's Dream en el ambiente, aunque sin el
La percusión de "Violent
Violet" alcanza a cambiar el mood otro poco. Un track más comercial
y más radiable, siguiendo el patrón de track instrumental
después de escuchar las voces de VanPortfleet o de Vanflower...
curioso. Sería bueno saber qué tono hubieran manejado las
voces en este track.
"Bloody Basin" y la voz
de Vanflower continúan generando ese ambiente oscuro gótico
que maneja como sello Lycia). Seguido por otro instrumental "The Long Drive"
que vueve a una tendencia monótona -que dicho sea de paso aumenta
la sensación de oscuridad del ya "gótico" ambiente.
El disco finaliza sin cambios
en el mood del disco (que insisto varios disfrutarán) con la oscurísima
"This Is The End".
~ Ciro Velázquez,
Silber records opperhoofd
Brian John Mitchell is nogal gecharmeerd door het bandje Six.By Seven Als
bandlid Chris Olley een solo project start stak hij als eerste zijn vinger
op en mocht hun plaatje uitbrengen.
Misschien koeler maar toch,
we delen zijn enthousiasme. Na een intro opgebouwd uit gitaardrones, een
nummer dat niet zou misstaan op één van die mooie Drone Record
singels, ontpopt Twelve zich tot een zeer up-to-date klinkend lo-fi project
met een brede kijk op muziek. Er wordt dan ook duchtig aan genre-hopping
gedaan. 'Talking About' dat zich elf minuten lang voortsleept kan zo op
het magistrale 'Songs For A Dead Pilot' van Low. Hypnotiserende pulserende
loops verraden een liefde voor krautrock in 'Traveling Light' en het gaat
zelfs tot slaapkamer techno in 'Part II'.
Een gedurfde zet om met
één project verschillende genres zo uitgesproken aan bod
te laten komen, ons heeft Chirs Olley zeker overtuigd.
Samen met Twelve brengt
Silber ook de afscheidsplaat van Lycia uit. Een groep uit Arizona die reeds
bestaat van eind jaren tachtig. Een veertiental platen en een bescheiden
cultstatus is hun verdienste. Muzikaal laveert het tussen vreemde experimenteerdrift
en new wave, op hun laatste plaat kijken ze vooral terug naar de jaren
tachtig. Wave dus, de zweverige gelaagde composities houden ergens het
midden tussen, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Cranes en Bauhaus. Voor liefhebbers
die nog één keer hun lange zwarte jas, en puntschoenen uit
de kast willen halen en nors naar de grond kijkend rond willen dansen.
Hier is Uw soundtrack.
~ Tom Wilms, L'entrepot
Un ultimo gelido addio.
Li avevo dati per morti
invece, dopo aver abbandonato la Projekt ed essersi accasati presso la
Silber Records, i Lycia sono tornati con un nuovo album e - credetemi -
c'è di che gioire. Dunque scordatevi quel mezzo aborto acustico
di 'Tripping Back Into The Broken Days' che, tra l'altro, dopo la mia intervista
con Tara è stato rinnegato sul loro sito dalla discografia ufficiale
dei Lycia ed inserito in quella del loro side project Estraya. Tuffatevi,
quindi, senza remore in questo loro ritorno al passato in cui vengono rispolverate
le vecchie influenze post punk. 'Empty Space' sarà il loro ultimo
disco e poi per i Lycia, esclusi ripensamenti, non ci sarà futuro.
Questo volta, però, non bisogna essere tristi, poiché i Lycia
hanno deciso di congedarsi nel migliore dei modi, ossia con un album in
grado di evocare quelle atmosfere darkwave decadenti e malinconiche che
regnavano nei loro dischi sino a 'Cold' e, non a caso, al fianco dei leader
storici Mike VanPortfleet (guitar e vocals) e Tara Vanflower (vocals) troviamo,
oltre alla "vecchia conoscenza" John Fair (drums programs), il bassista
David Galas (compagno di Mike anche nell'avventura Bleak). Registrato sul
finire del 1999, 'ES' alterna brani cantati ad altri strumentali e ridona
splendore ad una band che ha sempre fatto di un sound minimale e volutamente
glaciale il proprio trademark.
~ Lux, Ritual Magazine