Album Reviews

Laymar – In Strange Lines And Distances

(Tenor Vossa) UK release date: 2 June 2008

Never, never, fall into the trap of judging a band by their album covers, otherwise you might dismiss the superb, sublime and all together magnificent Laymar as some kind of 1980s Scandinavian sub-death metal outfit when in fact they’re iLiKETRAiNs chilled out cousins, the post-rock equivalent of the best massage you’ve ever had.

This makes it absolutely criminal that their current tour seems to venture no further than their home town of Manchester and a residency in Crackington Haven, which might be Thom York’s back garden, but is the arse end of nowhere for the rest of the country (sorry, North Cornwall, but pretty as it is, it’s not an easy place for the rest of us to get to).

Almost entirely instrumental, dark, low and with enough of a beat to ensure they’re not ambient, Laymar are music to listen to on a midnight drive through industrial wastelands. Storm clouds gather overhead, there’s a sample of factory noise here and there, Rec #3 in particular sinks to the bottom of a polluted river and slinks along for a while, the ghost of a submarine doomed to wander forever through the wrecks of oil tankers sunk by the apocalypse.

The band consists of just three men: Colin Williams on guitar, piano and synth; Ciaran Cullen on bass and synth; and David Paul on drums and sequenced electronics (and album artwork). Rock minimalism filtered through Godspeed You, Black Emperor and electronic trickery, their music is the sound of the long, long, midnight haul on a work drive you don’t want to be on, the sounds that drift through your head as you fall asleep, leaving your mate to drive. The slow turn of the wheel, the drag of the tarmac, the faint memory of the town you’ve just left. And it’s beautiful.

If you can imagine a club hosted on a rusting oil rig, where the main floor belts out Nine Inch Nails and Throbbing Gristle, Laymar are the sound of its chill-out room, the 4.00am sweetener to let you know it’s time to go home, past the neon lights of the nu ravers who have a couple of hours in them yet and through the first pale, blood red rays of the morning sun. Were they really there, or did you just sit down beside the rusted air conditioning for a little too long?

You either like industrial or you don’t. You either like post-rock or you don’t. But if you’ve ever had time for either, you’ll find few places where they come together more beautifully that this. If Sigur Ros were born to soundtrack the desolation of nature, Laymar were born to soundtrack the desolation of the inner city, where robot vultures gather long after mankind has wiped itself off the face of the Earth and music is no more than a memory resonating in the steel skeletons of reinforced concrete. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that music should make you want to dance.

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Laymar – In Strange Lines And Distances