Celestial Bodies

Written by: TL on 11/02/2016 12:39:51

Despite them being local to Copenhagen, it's not too much we get to see or hear the indie/noise-punk trio LSD on CIA in these parts. The group seems persistently engaged in tours in this or that part of Europe, and their ambitions abroad are only underscored by the fact that their new second album, "Celestial Bodies", is released primarily via the German label Noisolution. Meanwhile, the group's name has come up recurringly in the music media here at home, yet a breakthrough of sorts has yet to substantiate, making it interesting to speculate on which direction they might take on this sophomore.

Stylewise, LSD on CIA are relatively unusual: They sound sort of like Matt Bellamy (Muse) singing lead for Pulled Apart By Horses or Mclusky. Lead singer and guitarist Mikkel Konyher has a similar tendency to break out a white-hot and searing falsetto, and thematically, the band's atmospheres frequently emit feelings of restlessness, discontent and defensiveness against external forces seeking to control the individual. The energy of their songs is generally more punk, however, in terms of tempo, intensity and dynamics, like the band primarily wants to whip up frenzied and frustrated moods, as opposed to dramatic and overtly melodic ones.

The good news on "Celestial Bodies" is that the group seems to have developed a rather firm grasp on songwriting as a craft, as the majority of the tracks on here seem wholesome, like they have an immediate sense of direction and identity that help them stand apart from one another. The flipside is that the band arguably still depends too much on a simple 'get-weird-then-get-wild' dynamic, which is routinely topped by Konyher heading for that screechy falsetto. That trick gets a bit repetitive, hindering the album from really feeling like a consistently exhilarating back-to-back listen. But it is not enough to completely overshadow the qualities on display that are otherwise definitely worth listening for.

To focus on the good stuff, opener and lead single "Assault" for instance, is something as simple as straight up infectious and engaging song - perhaps partly because Konyher's falsetto is saved and used only for the very top end of the vocal parts. The hook, "Back off, we're not the problem, assault someone else" is sung in his regular voice and works just fine in its tradeoff with the song's sparkling guitar riffs. It's an energetic track, and its level of intensity is initially preserved through the album's first few tracks, before we're offered a well-timed change of pace in the eerily mellow "Driver". It's actually later on the album that some of the best parts appear, though, after an "Interlude" that makes you feel like the current acid- and psych trends are beginning to influence LSD on CIA a bit. The directly following "Reconcile" opens with the single most badass riff the band has probably recorded to date and is listenworthy for that reason in itself, while "Inner Animal" drains the tempo completely and shows off a much more soulful and nuanced build-up from the band.

If you give the album a few spins, however, it will become clear that there are more, although more subtle, instrumental nuances to be savoured on "Celestial Bodies". There is recurringly some jazzy f*ing sh*t going on with Piotro Fronklo's bass work, which in itself is a joy to listen to, and the songs often seamlessly incorporate mathy and abrupt rhythmical breaks that could make fans of old Biffy Clyro material smirk. The overall album experience just leaves you longing for things to have come together with at least a bit more striking impact. You wish that Konyher would explore a melodiousness of his lower range some more, instead of falling frequently in the trap of being a 'two-trick singer', and you wish that the band could sort of frame their qualities and good ideas more impressively.

With that being said, though, there's only one flat out bad track on "Celestial Bodies", namely the unnecessarily chaotic "Lava Lamps", which feels like a lone remnant of a 'weird-for-the-sake-of-weirdness' kind of band that wants to stay in its basement. Otherwise, LSD on CIA generally present some interesting material on here, it's just tricky to say if you're listening for the impact singles or the overall cohesion - You'd like to be able to say both, but you can't quite confidently say either. You can, however, enjoy some frequently sprinkled delicacies along the way, if you make sure to pay attention.


Download: Asssault, Reconcile, Inner Animal
For The Fans Of: Muse, Pulled Apart By Horses, Mclusky

Release date 08.02.2016

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