A work in two acts, Larvae's third full length album is a perfect snapshot of this band's tastes and talents. With a touching and poetic first part made of epic guitar melodies and drony atmospheres and a second act going back to Larvae's beatier and heavier "Monster Music" past, "Loss Leader" is at times poignant, at times playful. Another well thought step forward for the band (in two directions at once), and another impressive work for Larvae.(Get this on CD / as mp3)
Coming two years after "Dead Weight", so far the band's best known and most complete work, "Loss Leader" sees Larvae break the silence with something which is more than a regular album. Where "Dead Weight" was a commanding work of coherence in variations, melting many sounds and styles together, "Loss Leader" is clearly split in two very different parts.
The first four track, forming the "Turning Around" EP are a testimony of this American band taste for long guitar tracks, highly emotional build ups and delicate drumming. Maybe some of the rockiest Larvae material so far, these four melodic jewels take this act's sound where they had left us on the calmest tracks of "Dead Weight" (the fourth track, "Heavy" was actually part of the "Dead Weight" sessions), and dive forward in an instrumental world somewhere between post-rock and shoe-gaze, between drony backgrounds and fierce but introvert harmonies.
Contrasting with this low-key beginning, the second half of the album, dubbed "Monster Music 2", is the direct sequel to Larvae's very first EP ("Monster Music", adn28, released in 2003). For if Larvae is clearly an act with a foot in the poetic side of rock, they are also cross-referencing electronic musicians at heart. Godzilla and his fiends are therefore back for a new round of sweeping basses and heavy beats. And still, where the first "Monster Music" was a down-tempo heavy hitter (of the kind that would be called "dubstep" if it was released today). The sequel bows to Larvae's new-found calm, as shown for example in the closing "Oxygen Destroyer", which kicks off by pumping strong beats, before leaving room for wide and more humane tones.
Larvae have come a long way since their beginnings, one could hardly think of a better snapshot of what this act is truly about than "Loss Leader": multi-talented, touching and intelligent.