Ominous is a release that can be described as depressive, technographic and futuristic. In a time where we are seeing a resurgence in media for the aesthetics of cyberpunk and retro-futurism, LAKE OF TEARS provide the perfect soundtrack to riding the shuttle home in a sad, drunken haze. The band is the project of Daniel Brennare, a Swedish musician who has previously put out thirteen releases under this moniker revolving around the themes of space, sadness and nature.
The aesthetic that Brennare strives for often feels more like an audiobook. He doesn’t so much sing as read his thoughts into the song. Some of the vocals have held notes but it tends to be the last syllable of the sentence which creates a semi-dreamlike theme which pairs well with the gentle instrumentation in the background. It’s also worth noting that the vocals have some kind of lo-fi filter on them in certain places that really enhances the mood.
The album opens with The Destination, a pulsing driven track that starts surprisingly displaying more subtlety than I was expecting. When I was told about this album I was expecting something more like WOODS OF YPRES, heavy slow guitars and mournful but loud vocals. But this isn’t that, even when it breaks into the guitars they create more of a canvas than being the thing featured on it. It’s like seeing a piece of graffiti on a brick wall as opposed to on paper in a gallery. It makes a difference to how the work appears and in many ways it changes the meaning of the work by changing that one base element.
For the third track, Lost In A Moment, you can largely forget much of what I’ve said in the first part of this review. It changes radically to a slightly more black metal inspired sound but the really cool thing is that it doesn’t come as a shock. It’s cohesive and interesting and somehow carries more energy with it but retains the weight of its sentiment. For any gamers out there you might notice that this track has a very Bloodborne inspired vibe. I’m not sure it’s intentional but there’s some lines that make me think very specifically of that game and coupled with the album cover I’d be surprised if Brennare was unaware of it. Although if he wants to release an album based around it there’s some money in my bank account not doing anything…
I think this album is one that you must listen to this year, globally the mood feels right and it really needs this context to reach its full potential. It has been described as taking a lead from DAVID BOWIE’s Space Oddity, and I can fully see it. There’s an idea of isolation that runs throughout this that Bowie captured in so few words
“Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”
Astronauts have described the alienation of being in space to be one of the hardest things they have ever been through due to being cut off from family, friends and the human race at large which is something that I think now the vast majority of people understand in a new way. Sometimes a piece of media holds up a mirror to the global mood and reflects it back in a way that’s not mocking. Instead it’s empathetic and kind in a show of solidarity. And that’s why this album is on track to be one of my favourites of this year.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Ominous is out now.
Find LAKE OF TEARS on Facebook.