ALBUM: Lydia – Devil

Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Label: Unsigned


Long-standing indie songsters Lydia have taken the album count up another notch to number five. Sounding accomplished and assured, ‘Devil’ is an album that shows a band comfortable in their own skin, despite past events. The album is the second to come following an apparent split (followed by rebirth only a year later) and, while not being familiar with their previous efforts, either pre-split and post-reunion, there’s a sound here that’s both fresh and seasoned, as if they know exactly what they want.

The ambient-nature of the album may let it pass you by on the first couple of listens, but there’s melodies that’ll come back to haunt you, drawing you back in for another listen. Lead single, ‘Knee Deep’, holds a lot of weight and the vocals of Leighton Antelman wrap around the lead guitar of the chorus sublimely. The tempo is kept in check by both drums and piano, giving the track a solid backbone off of which to grow. And grow it does, the whole album is a great example of creating a huge sound while not being overbearing. ‘Holidays’ fills your speakers with just vocals, drums and keys in the verse, while its chorus is another good’n that just glazes on over.

The mournful church bells that ring in the succinct ‘Now I Know’ do their best to create the atmosphere, but it’s the layers of vocals on top of a reverb-soaked riff that repeats over and over that lets the song really work itself through to its end, straight into the punch of ‘Take Your Time’. Like the rest of the album, it stays at a mid-pace. While it might work well for the genre, the stabbing power chords in the track tease that there’s something more urgent lurking underneath. Fans of Lydia and the style they play will dig the relaxed pace, but for your general music fan, the nagging feeling that this a single-gear, dare I say it, one-dimensional, release might be one that’s too much to take.

But then, maybe that’s the point? From the “woah”-heavy chorus and swing in the verse of opener ‘The Exit’ to the low-key ending of ‘From A Tire Swing’ that sees the album out, there’s a cohesiveness that’s rarely lost and helps create a whole picture, rather than a bunch of sort of similar tracks that have been cut-and-pasted together. It works well, and I guess that’s all you can really ask of an album, even if you’d occasionally want it to offer a curve ball or, in the case of ‘Devil’, shift up a gear.

Written by Ryan Williams

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