Friday, April 2, 2010

Lali Puna

Our Inventions (Morr, 04.2010)

For: DNTEL, The Notwist, Ms. John Soda

Byline: Techno Viking? IDM haterz? Read full review here. Originally published on Published by Permission by In Your Speakers, LLC.

...Lali Puna have never lacked strong melodies or killer hooks with Valerie Trebeljhar’s breathy voice playing the Shirley to Markus Archer’s muscular electronic and live programming Laverne. This delicately crafted electronic-pop was occasionally interrupted, for better or worse, by moments of overbearing rock and roll, the kind with menacing vocal posturing and dissonant guitar licks. I was not the biggest fan of these moments in Lali Puna’s oeuvre, and fortunately for me, Our Inventions features 100% less of them, sticking closely to the glitch-heavy pop songs that the group pulls off effortlessly.

“Remember?” is an easy choice for their first single, featuring a spot-on chopped up vocal sample that found its way into tons of IDM (remember, we aren’t using that term anymore) tracks back in the nineties, with a flurry of microhouse high-hats and a steady undercurrent of near-wobbly low tones. Lali Puna have always chosen great company to remix their material and aren’t afraid to let their songs be improved upon. It is hard to imagine how Boom Bip, Alias, or even To Rococo Rot (stand out remixes on I Thought I Was Over That) could chop up beats finer than what is already displayed here.

Following on the heels of “Remember?” is the like-minded “Everything is Always,” which marquees Trebelijhar’s voice as the expository vehicle. Her wistful nostalgia never betrays her strong hold on the melody-driven chorus, as Archer’s beats arrange themselves from hiccupping segues to climactic revelries of blissed-out synth delays.

Things move smoothly until the album’s only interruption “Move On.” With an album so monolithically subdued, it is a welcome reprieve. “Move On” begins with a reverb-drenched minor beat before a hip-hop synth line rips a jagged hole through the relative peace of the album. But even Trebelijhar’s intense speak-sing cadence gives way to a gorgeous chorus and Archer’s instrumentation diminishes into a chiming outro full of warm, buzzing synths and a metronome beat.

Our Inventions largely abandons the occasional foray into the heavier moments of Faking The Books and emerges with something that nears pop perfection. Not one of the tracks ever overstays its welcome or overstates its case. Our Inventions feels warm, lived in, and as inviting as anything the group has ever done. Staring down close to a decade of music making, and never straying from what brought them international attention in the first place, Lali Puna have released an album that seems completely unfazed. Our Inventions is a record that has its nose close to the grindstone, carving deeper niches into the electronic-acoustic arrangements whose experimental nature never outweighs their inherent tendencies toward pop.

Ryan H.

Download Remember Here

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