June 5, 2008

Review: Languis | Fractured [MP3]

To paraphrase the great comic, actor and raconteur Jimmie Walker, the central question regarding Fractured is, "what it is?" According to the one-sheet presser, the set collects the first three singles from Languis, as well as various B-sides and
extra tracks. Yet the L.A. foursome's own Internet Home Page refers to Fractured as featuring "15 new songs." The reason the distinction is important is because the most intriguing thing about Languis's new record is the breadth of styles it contains: from dance-floor banger ("Traffic Light") to acoustic strummer ("This Is Not A Test"), from anthemic ambient downer ("In Search Of Summer") to post-transcendental Southern California rock -- right down to the sitar -- ("Page 17"). Such variety would make sense if in fact the record collects various recordings made at different times and reflecting certain stylistic developments. But it would almost be more impressive if the Fractured was conceived as a whole.

There is also the small matter of the set being released by Plug Research, the electronic music label we most closely associate with the soulful bleeps of Dntel and the light techno of John Tejada. With its variety and guitar-driven numbers, we just wouldn't immediately consider Fractured something that Plug Research would release. Then again, over the last several years more and more Morr Music acts have been using acoustic guitar in their recordings, and we used to consider Morr simply a clicktronica label. There are a few highlights on Fractured, including the affecting instrumental "Mending Spear, Part 3," the stunning "In Search Of Summer" (whose sole lyric is "she won't take me back" repeated over, and over, and over -- it's amazing), and the powerful, melodica-driven instrumental closer "Everything We Set Out To Be And Never Did." The band was cool enough to let us offer any track we'd like for download, and so it is with pleasure that we offer below "In Search Of Summer," what with the season almost upon us (in fact, a heat wave is prognosticated for Boston this coming weekend). We reviewed Languis' Other Desert Cities EP two years ago right here. Fractured was released May 6.

Languis -- "In Search Of Summer" -- Fractured
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[buy Fractured from Plug Research right here]

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