Music reviews: Lyla Foy and Thumpers
Mirrors The Sky
Lyla Foy (formerly known under the moniker WALL) releases her first full-length album, and Sub pop Records debut, Mirror The Sky, which she produced herself. This album has been highly anticipated since the release of her first E.P., Shoestring. During the recording of Mirrors The Sky, Foy extricated herself from the bustle of her native London, and set up shop in remote locations on the English countryside, for the peace and quiet stillness. Upon returning to London, she added some live drums, guitars, and piano to add a more human touch to the music. As a result, we receive this dreamy, surrealistic collection of light spirited electro-indie pop melodies.
One might find it easy to lose them self in the placid flow as the lightly, understated, engrossing sounds effortlessly ripple through the speakers. Foy’s soft voice is the focus. Her performance is sweet, with a whisper-like hush that projects a certain innocence that permeates throughout the songs. The subtlety of the layered music and drums create an intended airy spaciousness and exudes a generally carefree, somewhat whimsical atmosphere.
Mirrors The Sky is a sentimental and emotional collection of quixotic poesy. It is clear that she is confident in her sensitivity and venerability. Reading her lyrics is like glimpsing into a journal of poetry and prose of an unfeigned romantic, exposing thoughts and intentions. Accordingly, the melodies and rhythms follow suit and accommodate the emotional perspectives. Songs like, “Honeymoon”, “Rumour”, and “Someday” float like flowing ribbons, while tracks such as “I Only”, “No Secrets”, Only Human”, and “Feather Tongue” provide a more playful nature.
Undoubtedly, Mirrors The Sky is an intimate album, and should be thought of as such when listening to the album. Despite its electronics, this is a truly human album. There’s a common thread of softness and openness that runs from beginning to end. Lyla Foy should take great pride in what she’s done with Mirrors The Sky. Among other things, it prompts anticipation for the next installment.
London’s colorful alt-indie pop duo, Thumpers, offer up their first release for Sub Pop Records and their first full-length album. Childhood friends, Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr., deliver a musically diverse, sonically rich collection of songs that are as eclectic as one might presume the measure of the group’s influences are. While Thumpers isn’t an electronic group, indie group, ‘world’ music group, or a simple pop group, but they are a cohesive blend of all of those musical substances.
At first listen, one might not be able to completely appreciate every little sound that is employed within the songs. However, upon a second and third listen to the album, Galore, those elements do become more and more tectonic and begin to register more clearly with the aural senses. In turn, the illusion that the songwriting gets better and better.
The amount of musical influences on Galore is vast and far reaching. With Thumpers, it’s not so much about by whom they’re influenced, but by what styles they draw their inspiration from. While some tracks like “Dancing’s Done”, “Running Rope”, “Together Now”, and “Come On Strong” emanate with nice gliding ethereal layers that might even call groups like Animal Collective to mind, cuts like “Unkinder (A Tougher Love)”, “Now We Are Sixteen”, “The Wilder Wise”, and “Sound Of Screams”-which also happens to have what is probably the catchiest hooks on the album-are simply good electro-pop songs. Some tracks are injected with some little dramatic extras, like “Tame”, which has a distinct tropical island flavor, and “Roller”, which borrows creatively from genres of many decades past.
Galore enlists a varied cast of musical styles and genres to elicit a concoction of bright electronic melodies, lush vocal layering, unorthodox time signatures, and a host of other elements. Thumpers has managed to produce a collection of songs that get better with every passing listen. The band has managed to weave an intricate and airy blanket of material that most definitely has a shelf life that will outlast many, many of their contemporaries.