Album Reviews

Lackthereof – Your Anchor

(City Slang) UK release date: 4 August 2008

Having pricked up a few ears with his band Menomena last year, drummer Danny Seim returns with his side project Lackthereof and his ninth album in ten years.

If we hadn’t already been told you’d assume that this was probably recorded in his basement anyway. This is fairly lo-fi stuff, but no so much so that it will only appeal to the kind of muso who insists that his records have to sound like they’ve been polished with sandpaper before he gets them.

As a producer, Seim is fairly slick, and doesn’t do a bad job here at all, making a lo-fi album that has pretty high production values. As a musician, he’s obviously got an awful lot of talent, and one would suspect, a massive bag of weed stuffed down his trousers.

These songs are pretty damn stoned. Opening track Chest Pass practically drools down its heavy knit cardigan as it slowly breaks into life. A clumsy bass line thuds away against a positively skittish drum pattern while Siem mumbles all over it. Shimmering cymbals and slightly deranged backing vocals add to the sweetness of the track washing over you like the laziest waves you’ve ever experienced. If that sounds awful then you’re wrong, and you should sit down and calm down – it’ll do you good.

Choir Practice emulates the heart beat you can hear in your ears as the smoke tendrils head upwards before spreading out across the ceiling. Bass throbs endlessly and nifty guitar stabs sneak in here and there as Seim builds something approaching a minimalist Americana funk track. If Menomena morphed genres explicitly, Lackthereof does it before your very eyes without you noticing.

Last November seems to inhabit a very dark place indeed as Seim’s drawled vocal takes on an even more apathetic tone. It’s fairly downbeat initially before Heim’s pop sensibility takes a hold and produces a chorus that elevates things to an almost joyous state. It’s a common element to many of the songs on Your Anchor. Seemingly somnambulant amblings turn out to have real moments of pop gold buried deep within them. Once you’ve located them it’s impossible not to treasure these songs.

The album rounds things off with a cover of The National‘s Fake Empire, managing to make it sound even more desolate and wanting than the original, which is one hell of a trick.

Bon Iver might have got plenty of attention for holing up in a shack and eating a deer while he wrote his album, but really, so what? If nipping down your basement, getting stoned (not that we’re saying Seim did of course) and creating music is as effective as this then why deprive yourself of the pleasure of home comforts?

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Lackthereof – Your Anchor