The Belgian trio In Lakesh employ the restrained sonic arsenal of indie folk, to create something innocent and expansive, on the first of three planned EPs. Do you remember what it is like to be a child? Before you had names and concepts for everything that you saw? When life was a continual adventure and exploration, and not merely connecting the dots and going through the motions.
In Lakesh began as an ambitious trio of multi-instrumentalists from Brussells, Belgium. Beginning in June 2013 as a duo, In Lakesh have expanded to a fully fledged five piece, and have already played several music festivals. Clearly, they are ambitious and driven, and have the chops to back it up. This ambition is reflected in their recordings, with each of the three EPs being written by a different lyricist, who will also handle the visuals. Albatros is the first of the three.
Beginning with the basic template of acoustic guitar and voice, In Lakeesh smear synth, psychedelic vocals, and driving percussion to create an artistic and immersive environment, that has the warmth and immediacy of folk music, with the intelligent sound design of latter-day techno. All of this is given a surreal cast, with bizarre and poetic lyrics, that are as informed by the natural world, as much as the worlds of ideas and emotions.
In Lakesh expand upon what used to be called folktronica, as practiced by artists like Boards Of Canada and Bibio, which was full of promise and potential, but too often ended up as unimaginative producers dropping acoustic guitar samplers into Garage Band. In Lakesh's approach is more integrated, more holistic - they have created a cohesive soundworld, with no cracks, flaws, or blemishes.
As a result, the spell is never broken, and you fall deeper into their hypnotic spiral with each successive listen. Listening to Albatros repetitively yields interesting results, as the natural, concrete world around you starts to get soft and squishy around the edges, as their nature poetry starts to influence the world around you. Birds take on a divinatory cast, while the rain puddles whisper sweet, comforting nothings in your ears.
This is, of course, thanks, in large part, to excellent performances and recording. The acoustic guitars are sweet and biting - if sometimes sounding a little too plastic and artificial (watch those direct inputs, ladies and lads, and get some decent pre-amps) - sometimes churning, sometimes caressing. Examples of both can be heard on "Orsalher", one of this short album's highlights.
In Lakesh did nail the bass sound , however, which is simple and subtle, but warm and phat and punchy, and makes for a well-rounded recording, that sounds entirely pro.
Albatross is an auspicious opening, from a talented and motivated band. These are two traits that will carry you far in the art world, so here's to hoping In Lakesh fly as far as the seafaring bird they namecheck.
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