Race The Loser - Lau
Where do you go when you have created a template that has spawned sound alike trios left right and centre? One suspects that degree courses in traditional music have a Lau class, probably just after the Spiers and Boden one, as a major part of their curriculum. On their latest album 'Race The Loser' Lau dispense with the freewheeling intensity of three guys bashing merry hell out of their instruments, and in comes a more measured high brow approach to what makes a Lau record.
What has always made the group so intriguing is what the three guys bring to the table from their vast and very individual wells of talent. What has defined the band in the past is also what they have left off the table, Martin Greens love of electronica and wild experimentation has had it's own direction with his solo projects with no real outlet in Lau, but now the Lau beast has devoured the Martin Green Machine (and snacked on Tunng and George Martin in the process).
This is what we need more of, chuck out those templates and defy our expectations
If you have seen the band live at anytime in 2012 you will have been struck by the arcane looking pile of electronics next to Martin Green. Always pitched at such an angle that he doesn't have to stand up (Lau just don't do that), he tweaks and twiddles the knobs and levers like Doctor Who struggling to steer the Tardis through time and space. We have reached a point where the excess of electronica has got out of everyones systems, this is the point where it gets exciting as it is blending and adding something really worthwhile to music - Lau have just produced a masterclass in how to do it.
Race The Loser neatly sidesteps the problem that seems to dog many folk/acoustic bands, how do you do something different without sticking a drum kit and bass player in the corner? Lau have expanded on their core ambience
, turned it up to ten and ended up with a really good studio album - it dispenses with the melodic hooks that made their uptempo tunes so infectious in favour of their more measured, deep tunes and songs. You do miss those hooks though, a big fast tune that makes the spine tingle is a big part of Lau - their absence is a disappointment.
This is what critics like to refer to as a 'mature' album, from a band who are unafraid to experiment and innovate - This is what we need more of, chuck out those templates and defy our expectations.Iain Hazlewood