The indie-folk of Laucan feints melancholy pastoralism that hides a post-modern agenda. With somber guitar, stately cello and falsetto vocals, Laurence Galpin, who records as Laucan (pronounced Lor-can, like Shar-day) interlaces the organic and acoustic with mechanical matter and digital methods to highlight their influence on each other and the flow of everyday life. If that sounds abstract, the video for the haunting “Symptom” illustrates this idea quite literally. I haven’t felt the subtle emotional pull from this kind of becalmed British art music since some David Sylvian albums from the 1990s.
I’m pleased to report that nothing on Laucan’s new album FramesPerSecond even vaguely qualifies for “song of the summer” status. Instead, the album suggests the inevitability of temperatures dropping, seasons changing, feelings turning. In a neat John Cage trick, he invites chirping birds to set the stage for the hypnotic “Up Tomorrow,” adding and subtracting layers of instrumentation to sustain a delicious tension. You can probably find a space on your playlist for Laucan’s mood shifts.
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.