The Lazlo Device comprised of Leo Fenn (drums), Mark Litobarski (guitar/keys), Dan Murdoch (bass/vocals) and Ross Saunders (guitar/keys) gave us a little taste of what they are capable with their EP The Gunslinger, which came out at the end of 2014. The band is back with a full length entitled Duelism, which builds off the foundation they built as well as displays other sides to the band we haven’t seen yet.
Duelism is an ambitious album that tackles a lot of different styles and also presents a vast palette of tones and textures. Take for instance the synth pop inspired sounds on “Raining Sun” which are reminiscent of a band like Cut Copy compared to the huge almost arena rock sound of a song like “Alternate Space Death.” The band also successfully pulls off atmospheric shoegaze with a song like “Momo.”
Other songs have more of a contemporary commercial viability such as “Evocativor.” The bright, shiny guitars and hopeful vibe invoke memories of U2 although there are some twists and turns in this song. For example, a little more than half way through they break into a danceable part that feels like it's on the verge of ska. The band somehow seamlessly makes back to the verse somehow by implementing post-rock-esque sounding guitars.
One of the songs that stuck out to me was “Uncertain Beginnings” which starts out with a solo piano that sounds mysterious and stoic. In fact the singing that enters has a similar feel. I really like how this song builds in an unexpected way. By the end of the song the band is rocking out in epic fashion.
The best song on the album is arguably “Looking Glass.” I loved the flamenco style guitar of this song and the infectious vocals. “Mungo” contains a blaring sax and is another song you can certainly dance to.
Duelism is a great album any way you look at it but some of the songs felt too disparate. For example “Raining Sun” sounds like an entirely different band compared to “Uncertain Beginning.” At the end of the day this is a minor issue when looking at what this album offers. There is a lot to explore here and it’s the type of album you need to take some time to explore. I would suggest doing that in the not too distant future.
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