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Lazleitt - Perpetually Under Idle Grounds CD (album) cover

PERPETUALLY UNDER IDLE GROUNDS

Lazleitt

 

Neo-Prog

3.55 | 4 ratings

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Steve Conrad
3 stars I was given an advance review copy of this album.

Meticulously composed and constructed symphonic/neo-progressive music

Put on your thinking cap:

If there's one thing I've learned about Alex Lazcano, the brains behind Lazleitt's sophomore release (July 26, 2019)- his head is full of pretty deep stuff.

Philosophy. Fantasy. Spirituality. Prejudice. The paranormal. The nature of reality.

Easy-going stuff like that.

H.P. Lovecraft and Twin Peaks, Salem Witch Trials'

Yes, just some of the references and influences to be found in this album.

All set to cinematic, story-telling, epic progressive music that is flawlessly executed, with crystalline production by Eric Gillette, sound-shaper at EKG Studios, solo artist, and multi-instrumentalist/composer/vocalist with The Neil Morse Band.

And musically'

Yes, yes, we're not discussing a novel here, or even a TV series.

Rather, an actual music production, with a stellar cast and an eerie conceptual thread.

The music is intricate, themes introduced, interwoven with multiple keyboards providing lush and rich sound- tapestries (both Alex and David), lengthy instrumental passages, and vocal work sometimes male and female harmonies (Alex and Liz), more often solo.

Eric's drumming and Alex's bass guitar work to solidly propel and bring verve to the sound.

Did I mention scorching guitar solos?

Carlos and Eric bring formidable fretwork to the mix, along with Alex's more restrained playing.

Several incendiary guitar solos ignite the proceedings at several places.

After a moody 'Prelude'

The epic twenty-one minutes-and-change 'A Furtive Shelter' comes thundering into life, with full orchestrated introduction, setting themes with Alex's deft melodic touch, then yielding to Eric's somewhat wistful/sepulchral voice, and Liz's expressive alto vocals.

It's for me the highlight of this album, filled with extensive instrumental passages and some tasty vocal work. All the strengths of the album are on display here, and there's plenty to take in.

Then, two 'witches'

Sadly, among the tragic, colorful, and unjust ways in which the fair sex have been treated over the years, the hysteria over 'witchcraft', the Salem Witch Trials, drownings, hangings, and public shunning, take prominent roles.

Using spooky voices and characters, alongside keyboard sounds, two notable historic figures are utilized as themes for the next two inter-related pieces.

Leading to the menacing finale

Based on UK poet Sue Lumb's lyrics, Alex composed this closing track based on Twin Peaks' meditations upon reality/fantasy, capping off this magisterial work with lush orchestration, punchy bass guitar lines, ebullient drumming, all ending on a somewhat unsettling, questioning note.

Growing edges

Lazleitt and Alex show considerable growth and maturity with this sophomore release. For me, the vocals are a question mark. Both vocalists seem competent enough, yet both are an acquired taste. Liz's too ready vibrato bothered me, and Alex has that sometimes hollow, fairly impersonal quality, especially in passages that seem to demand more fire and guts.

I thought too the range of characters represented in the lyrics could well be more distinguished by recording techniques of nearness/distance, perhaps different vocalists, use of other vocal settings.

In sum

A fine, evocative sophomore effort filled with memorable melodies and lush soundscapes.

3.5 spooky sepulchers

Steve Conrad | 3/5 |

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