The Low Frequency In Stereo
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The Low Frequency In Stereo

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Low Frequency in Stereo - Futuro

9/10

This record rocks. Honestly, I could stop right there and you would know all you need to about The Low Frequency in Stereo, but I suppose it's worth going into detail as to just how this record rocks. And when I say "rocks," I mean "your socks off." Pants, too.

Imagine if you will Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth fame). Now pretend that he formed a supergroup with members of Yo La Tengo and Stereolab. Now take that a step further and pretend that said supergroup smoked up, listened to whatever random handful of LPs they could find (including Canterbury-scene prog leaders Egg and perhaps a psych great like Can), and then created a sort of musical bastard god-child out of that unseemly brew. You are now prepared for Futuro.

The first thing you hear when "Turnpike", the opening track, starts is the now nearly classic late-eighties/early-nineties distorted guitar sound riffing through a slowly modulating wah-wah pedal. It may be one of the best openings for a record since digital became the dominant format - instantly engaging and just heavy enough to have attitude without being abrasive. From there, the band launch into a psychedelia-inspired instrumental complete with a Fender Rhodes (or something that sounds like one) keying a light, proggy melody. It's very difficult to listen to this and not be happy, especially with the upbeat, almost dance style drums holding down the beat.

The third track, "Geordie La Forge" plays like Television's greatest hits, with both male and female vocals and the same relaxed yet upbeat feel coming from the thin, treble-driven guitars. "Mt. Pinatubo," the next track, changes direction completely, emphasising instead heavy reverb and feedback, and a darker, more psychedelic sound, nixing the vocals almost completely and creating a trance-inducing groove.

Though some of the songs sound decidedly poppy, the prevailing mood of this record justifies the repeated use of psychedelic references. There is a carefree heaviness, a lighthearted rebellious quality to Futuro that makes it definitely feel like the heir to the throne of instrumental krautrock a la Amon Düül II. At the same time, I can't help but think of Sonic Youth, a band which possesses such similar qualities despite having an altogether different sound. It's an odd comparison, and yet it works remarkably well.

Over the course of eight tracks, TLFIS manage to create a record on which every single song is not just good, but awesome. They aren't just songs you don't want to skip, but songs you actively want to listen to, and to make a a record so thoroughly desirable is an achievement that few artists can claim to have achieved. The drum parts are fairly simple, yet they seem to convey so much; so too, do the guitars and keyboards, droning or popping as they will. There's no easy way to nail down quite what makes Futuro so good, but there's definitely something there, and perhaps the fact that that element can't be identified that makes this record what it is - an album that is in contention to be one of the best rock records of the year. I don't care that I've listened to it three times since this afternoon, I want more, and that, ultimately, is the sign of a great record.

-Lee Stablein - the silent ballet


Discography

* 2002 “The Low Frequency in Stereo" – REC 90, Cargo Records

* 2004 “Travelling Ants who Got Eaten by Moskus” – REC 90, Cargo Records

* 2005 “Astro Kopp EP"– REC 90

* 2006 "The Last Temptation Of... The Low Frequency in Stereo" – REC 90, Cargo Records

* 2007 21/Jimmy Legs double a-side 7" - Gigantic Music, USA 2007

* 2009 "Futuro" - Rune Grammofon, Forced Exposure, Cargo Records

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Bio

Started up as a Lo-Fi/Post Rock outfit in 2002 in Norway. The new album sounds like: From the Eastern-tinged pop flirt of ”Startruck” to the near 10 minute cosmic groove-trip that is ”Solar System”, the new album "futuro" from this excellent group finds them on top form and taking a big leap from their previous, Norwegian Grammy nominated, album. A sharper and more focused effort without a weak track in sight, ”Futuro” is both industrial and rough as well as polished and streamlined. There are nods to fellow Norwegians 120 Days as well as Stereolab, Can, Doors, Joy Divison and even B 52´s, but first of all this is a group that have perfected their own sound from album to album and through periods of extensive touring.