Album Reviews

Vinyl Williams – Lemniscate

(No Pain In Pop) UK release date: 12 November 2012


There’s a point you get to, about mid-way through Lemniscate, where you realise nothing that has gone before has left any kind of mark on its way through. So you put it on again. And concentrate. Really hard. Focus. Do not shirk. Focus. Think of nothing else. Focus. Focus. Focus…

… and the same thing happens. You drift off. Transcendence is one thing but altering your state of mind such that you no longer recall listening to the album? Surely that’s not the point of this trip?

On the plus side, it is soothing. You don’t snap out of your trance with an unstoppable desire to find LA based artist and musician Lionel (aka Vinyl) Williams and poke him in the eye with a stick. It’s just that the dreamy, dense, psychedelic songs that make up Lemniscate are a little too amorphous for their own good.

It’s a bit Tame Impala. A bit DIIV. Both of whom this year made albums with links to genres with somewhat soiled reputations and, Pygmalion style, took off the glasses, smoothed down the cockney accent and sent them back into the world with a new veneer of respectability. But while there are echoes of both (vocals which sound like they were recorded in Jacques Cousteau’s diving bell; a general reliance on making songs dressed in an iridescent shimmer) it lacks the sense of direction that made Oshiin or Lonerism work so well. Lemniscate isn’t an album with impact.

Still, there are some moments (if you can stay in a lower state of consciousness for long enough to notice) which are undeniably pleasant. Higher Walls has a driving strut of a bassline to provide a nice counterpoint to the sonorous textures that surround. The skittering drums washes and lazering syths that zip across Tokyo – Sumatra are good and the trippy Inner Space, with Williams adopting a not unappealing falsetto, is all kinds of groovy.

More often than not though, the swirling patterns all merge into one giant, tie-dyed shape. And it’s then that your mind begins to wander. You realise that because everything is energy, we’re all essentially part of the same universal being and that all events, no matter how random, can be explained as part of some giant equation, the parameters of which defy any possibility of comprehension by even the most brilliant human mind.

Which is cool, and all, but doesn’t really make Lemniscate a musically memorable experience. There’s the hint of something good, but it remains too abstract, too lacking in form to truly move you.


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