In an interview for their record label Sonic Cathedral, Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete describe how in preparation for their fourth album they gathered themselves, built up their emotional and physical strength, retreated to their own quiet corner of town, and let their creative imaginations run wild.
Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto González wanted to explore new ways of working, experimenting with new sounds, textures and rhythms. That they have titled this offering Balance says a lot about their thoughts on the results, and that is confirmed in an album that proves to be their most adventurous offering yet.
The title also reflects a coming together of some very different musical styles. While a wide soundscape is a near-constant feature of their music, the different grooves and riffs that trade from garage rock through psychedelia through to shoegaze and minimal rhythm tracks offer a compelling listen.
The music’s cosmopolitan flavour is reflected by its lyrics, given out in both Spanish and English, and in its recording history, for Balance clocked up quite a carbon footprint from Mexico to Melbourne and Chicago. The different climates reflect on tracks that shimmer and dance in the heat, or have a frisson of ice around their edges. The heat soaked La Distinctión does this through a brilliant, shuffling groove with a twinkle at the treble end, while The Sound Of All Things begins with a surprisingly soothing excerpt of birdsong, before an urgent rhythm track comes in to really make the music travel.
Despite Quintanilla’s soothing vocal tones there is often a simmering undercurrent of discontent to the music. The sharp synth sound cutting in half way through the title track is like the blast of an intense garden strimmer, which sounds a lot better than that observation implies! Similar things happen in Ching, where a shredded guitar scythes apart the cool keyboard sounds.
This is a striking moment in the album, with a wonderful blend of foreground – those flickering points of white guitar light – and wide open background, with distant chimes. The murmured, trance-like vocal caps a striking song that is difficult to place but greatly enchanting.
This is music demands your attention, whether in hypnotic tracks like The Sound Of All Things – where Quintanilla’s soft tones are complemented by a wall of distorted guitar and an urgent rhythm track – or, as in La Distinctión, the thrill of following the progress of its two sharply characterised guitar lines.
The more you listen to it, the more secrets Balance reveals, and the more you fall under the spell of Quintanilla’s vocal and the ever evolving, ever imaginative settings for it. It is easy to see why The Cure’s Robert Smith, The Stone Roses’ Mani and Henry Rollins are all fans, for Lorelle Meets The Obsolete offer a heady mixture of psychedelia and grooves that, over time, becomes completely compelling.