LEPROUS is a band that’s been around a while. I’m not exactly sure how long the internet says since 2001, but that’s got to be wrong. They’ve been around for a while longer than that right? They sound like they have. The sound of their new album is so tinged with the sounds of yesteryear that it seems like a love letter to bands like A-HA and EURYTHMICS. Although this revelation is not out of the blue given vocalist Einar Solberg’s appearance on the IHSAHN cover of Manhattan Skyline last year.
The album begins on Running Low, which makes strong use of repetition towards the end of its six and a half minute run. In many ways, this is a fantastic album opener given that it creates a level of theatrical tension creating a unique foundation from which to build. It is from this point that the album takes on a silky smooth, swirling feeling. This feeling is broken up by brief moments of harsher sounds that serve to contrast and contextualise the general idea of the record.
The act of intentional contrast works especially well on The Silent Revelation where after a loud and wild introduction they break to allow the comparatively quiet verse to give that impression of silence. And then it breaks back into a run and the strings erratically stab, becoming not so much part of the melody but rather a part of the rhythm section.
As a band, LEPROUS are difficult to review. It is not because the music is not of suitable depth, or not worthy of analysis but the nature of their music feels as though you are critiquing a film. Soberg’s voice is the camera angle, sometimes it’s large enough to create an epic shot and sometimes, it’s tastefully off key. The instrumentation then to continue this simile is the action, the actors. Each motion advances the plot of the song, each sound creates an object that the listener’s attention is drawn to. Sometimes there’s a rapid change in a strange example of Deus Ex Machina, and sometimes it’s a subtle draw that will be resolved later; the bang from Chekov’s gun.
Perhaps the only negative thing I could say about this release is that the pacing may be off-putting. The songs occasionally seem to slow down considerably; this doesn’t make them unenjoyable but rather helps to focus on the exact sentiment being expressed. The tempo is quick but through the use of clever musical punctuation the temporality of the section is changed considerably.
This album demands your attention, it demands that you sit and let it envelope you. But it asks so nicely and so subtly that you will not mind at all. If you have heard Leprous before then you’ll buy this album, if you haven’t then I would pick this one up as there are far worse places to start. This is superbly done and I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to try something familiar but completely new.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Aphelion is out now.
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