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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Division of Laura Lee
Lovitt Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Two years seems hardly sufficient time to evolve enough to warrant a retrospective of one's work, doesn't it? Lovitt Records doesn't think so, at least in the case of Division of Laura Lee. A year and a half after Black City was released on Sweden's Burning Heart Records, Lovitt is taking "a look back" at Division of Laura Lee's early days- that is, their recordings made from 1997-1999, on 97-99.

It's a bit late to write about mounting popularity and hype surrounding Swedish bands, but when Black City came out, this might not have been such a bad idea. For name-dropping's sake, I'll drop a few- the Hives, the Soundtrack of Our Lives, the (international) Noise Conspiracy- and then charge on with the review. All of that is nearly irrelevant, anyway. There are probably only two questions that need to be answered in order to assess the musical value of 97-99. If either question is answered in the affirmative, this reviewer will deem this "look back" a good idea. First: Is Division of Laura Lee's recent work interesting enough that the listener would be interested in hearing the music of their formative years? Second: Is Division of Laura Lee's work from 1997-1999 remarkable in any way?

In order to answer the first question, a quick look back to 2002's Black City is in order. Politically-charged, screamed vocals and aggressive guitars are the core of Division of Laura Lee's sound, one that is rooted in both the punk revival of the (international) Noise Conspiracy and the garage revival of the Hives. The album is decent at worst, but people (this reviewer included) who haven't really been into most bands of the rockin' sort lately might find it a bit lacking in the appeal department. In essence, then, the album is good enough to warrant at least a few listens, but it would be unlikely that this reviewer would be interested in hearing the band's recording before it got to this point in its evolution.

Thus, the second question must be asked: Is the music on 97-99 remarkable in any way (or, judging from the answer to the first question, at least better or equal to Black City)? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is again negative. Unlike Black City, there is really not one standout song on this collection of early rarities. Division of Laura Lee are just as charmingly raw here as they are on their 2002 release, yet the songs are less well-written and are, frankly, thoroughly unremarkable. Of course, this is just because this is the sound of a developing band, and that is fine. It is not, however, worthy of much thought or listening time.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn



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