With a smack of distorted guitar noise here and a slap of echo-heavy vocals there, Lorelei makes a successful post-rock comeback with its new album, Enterprising Sidewalks. This is the band’s first release in about 18 years, but it seems that the Slumberland veterans have no trouble picking up from where they left off on 1994’s Everyone Must Touch The Stove. While never abandoning that ’90s slacker aesthetic, the Washington, DC, threesome remain unpredictable, twisted and complex.
Recorded with friends Archie Moore (Velocity Girl, Black Tambourine), Ben Bailes (Chessie) and mixed by Guy Fixsen (My Bloody Valentine, Moose, Laika), Enterprising Sidewalks is a multi-layered listen. The album opens with a two-second drum intro in the album’s first single, “Hammer Meets Tongs.” The song quickly leads to some hard-hitting guitars and detached vocals, with Matt Dingee singing, “This is the special public life/Of an enterprising sidewalk.” Full of interchanging melodic patterns and unexpected twists, the song is at its best when they ditch the dry vocals and allow the dreamy and distorted instrumentals to build into a satisfying conclusion.
Lorelei keeps pummeling through with “Majority Stakes.” As soon as Davis White hits that first drum, there is no turning back. A serious song with real movement, its killer bassline and relentless drums make it hard for you to catch a breath. Showing some real emotion this time around, Dingee lets all his anger out as his looming cries warn, “This is the end/And it’s only just begun.” Spiraling into pure fuzz, there is no resolution for “Majority Stakes.”
“Let Go of Our Ego” begins with bobbing bass and a weaving guitar line, but when you think it’s coming to a natural end, it doesn’t. Lorelei shines during the song’s climax with its wailing and dissonant guitar riffs. Through the psychedelic sounds and swirling guitar, a spooky “Outside Through The Keyhole” features the band’s versatility and authenticity. Another standout, “Sorry For The Patience” shows Lorelei at its most mainstream. Less about middle-class woes and more about personal problems, it’s shorter, lighter and undeniably the most fun.
The album comes to a quiet close with “Measured In Fingers.” The first 12 seconds are pure silence, and after such a tenacious and earsplitting album, that’s something to appreciate. However, just because it’s the closest thing on Enterprising Sidewalks to a power ballad doesn’t mean “Measured In Fingers” loses Lorelei’s signature sounds. Besides, what would Lorelei be without that drone?