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Laura - Twelve Hundred Times CD (album) cover

TWELVE HUNDRED TIMES

Laura

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.92 | 5 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The sound of the bleak and the beautiful. Wonderful.

"Twelve Hundred Times" is the third studio album from Melbourne based Laura, one of the finest post-rock atmospheric noise ensembles around. The band who gave us "Radio Swan is Down" in 2006 is the same except for the departure of David Gagliardi it appears. "Twelve Hundred Times" surpasses their fine previous album and finds the band at their sound peak to date, compositionally lean and emotionally balanced.

Lean because at roughly 45 minutes the album is a perfect length, for me feeling like one extended track without any bloated repetition, every moment seems finely constructed and relevant. Balanced because the moods are melancholic and yet there is hope everywhere, especially in the human component of voice which is more common here than on so many post-rock albums. The fragile vocals settle softly over the tracks, perfectly suited to the music and adding contrast to the band's amazing wall of guitars, keyboards, and cello, which are tightly woven, occasionally oppressive, and concretely beautiful. There are greater dynamics this time around with more upbeat parts and even slower, dirge like moments. It is one of these, the stellar "Stone Seed" which so beautifully typifies the vocal component, backed by cello, violin, and acoustic guitar, pure food for the soul. Keys and subtle percussion increase the effect. A gorgeous, understated guitar lead and piano end the piece.

Soon we are back to controlled noise-scapes and increasing tensions, with the volume and color of the palette masterfully controlled by Laura. Alternately sparse and crushing, but never arbitrarily so, the album is crafted with such care and the results are haunting and memorable. As far as I'm concerned, this album is as successful as a Toby Driver composition while being far more accessible. "Twelve Hundred Times" is the integration of bleak and beautiful which never subjects its musical ideas to the convenience of forced dissonance. Like the best post-rock, it serves as cinematic soundtrack to the experience of living, the continual film of thoughts and daydreams playing in our head. Laura has a knack for making their music feel natural to that experience as opposed to the contrived attempts I've heard elsewhere. This album in particular stands on its own and the experience shimmers for listeners lucky enough to find it.

Yet another contender for my best of 2011 list, Laura is a band which deserves far greater attention than they have. Hold your lists folks until you get a chance to hear this late year contender!!!!

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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