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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Cyann & Ben
Spring
Locust Music

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Listening to Cyann & Ben is like receiving an abundance of presents, each wrapped in brightly colored silk and tied with rough, sturdy cord. As you unravel the twine, the cloth unfolds to reveal a precious, tarnished trinket. In Spring, the tracks are oddly shaped, weathered gifts, constantly unfolding and surprising.

Just as you shake it to anticipate what you're getting - Could it be the whale song of Sigur Rós? The shattered cathedral glass of the Cocteau Twins? An emerging from the darkest depths of OK Computer? - its true identity goes beyond partial descriptions. By all logic, an amalgam shouldn't sound so striking and vital, nor should a debut have such presence. Analogue music has seldom been so enchanting or immediately engrossing.

Full of dramatic composition but smartly devoid of bawdy melodrama, Cyann & Ben create a subtle, chaotic epic that allows you to follow along and get swept up in the everyday. Their wraithlike, cellar-cloistered instrumentation buzzes in a near-shoegazing fashion, cloaking the outside world and acting as a blinder. As a result, all you see and feel pours into their representation of the world, and Spring is deeply personal.

The release is divided into dreams and nightmares, familiar in some rights, but steps above the mundane. "Buick to the Moon" begins on a high and breathtaking note, a lofty glimpse at heaven as "I Can't Pretend Anymore" draws you fearfully closer to the light. The brisk heights of Cyann's gauzy vocals move us closer to both angels and judgment. Spring duly escapes Earth, but keeps pointed tabs on the worldly.

Delving into nightmares, the sinister "Melody" would almost be vaudevillian if it didn't howl so thinly. Despite feedback and distortion, the track is convincingly human and organic in tone. It draws inward, begging for interpretation and the liberation of private demons. Again, the spectacle of truth trumps created fiction: the shadows here are definitely foreboding.

As one may expect, Spring is a pastoral album, but in a truly pagan and earthly sense. Despite its title, the album emulates the hottest day of summer during a brownout. Charcoal toned, surrounded by dry dirt, there are candles flickering; emphasizing sweaty breathlessness and the smell of decaying matches. It is threatening, suspenseful and intelligently thrilling without a line of defense. Spring captures the stinging inescapability of guilt, and such natural disasters as drought and famine: while the more blatant violence of lightning or fire may seem more drastic, the silent pangs and barren waste are what truly wreck you from within. In despairing simplicity, Cyann & Ben capitalize on those matters that can wholly destroy you without notice.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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