Moody, mournful and a dash morose; all words which come to mind when I think of this debut. After a streamlined renaming, Landshapes nee Lulu and the Lampshades have shifted their sound to a more challenging form of aggression. Rambutan is a broody painting of internal struggle, but if I was to put a single word to it, I’d name call it. bewitching. Bella Union certainly do know how to pick them.
Opening with Racehorse, we are thrown into a pensive reflecting pool, a collection of slow grooves which certainly pierce the soul. interplay between singers is haunting; the tones are certainly piercing but it is entwined in a delicate harmony which you can rather easily lose yourself. your mind in.
In limbo, is possibly the most fascinating track on this release, the calm does come before the storm and this in way exception. It has a little something for everybody, the percussion is beyond varied the guitar work beautifully restrained and the bass work is deliciously relaxed, Lulu herself reveals the power beneath her voice with a candor I relish and admire.
LJ Jones is another brilliantly arranged song, theoff-beat approach to syncopation outdoing with wonderful latinate rhythm is inspired but the great thing about this song is its middle eight, the resolution becomes something so much more as it becomes more introverted and riddled with self-reflection. The next three songs start to follow an extremely well executed pattern, building up to a perfectly executed selection of crescendos whilst always spiraling into glorious madness.
Impasse is especially enthralling, its slid intensity is only matched by its unidentifiable quirkiness. The exceptional weave of vocal patterns weave a thick cloth of sadness which fills you with not only sadness, but a grim determination.
Demons, the only surviving reminder of Lulu and the Lampshades Cold Water EP, is a fruitfully folksy affair, and as much as I quite despise western folk, this cannot really be faulted, it’s jarring brings on a palpable feel of unease, it twists and turns and displays some frankly terrifying arco work from the fiddles.
As always I have a highlight, Insomniac ‘s club is a percussionists heaven, the groove has a puisance which resonates with samba, calypso and soca, whilst still holding a western edge . The result is spicily tribal groove, Lulu’s fresh airy tones over the top is an added force of nature. This tune really ties the album together in a beautiful way.
Rambutan Isn’t a game changer, it just made a new game. It throws you into a world of dreams bordering on nightmares, its dangerous quality is the root of its appeal, and one would be remiss not to accept the challenge and listen. They are masters of syncopation, their vocal arrangements ethereal, and they take no prisoners.
Landshapes make their own standard, then they surpass it. Enjoy.