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LAURA

Post Rock/Math rock • Australia


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Laura biography
Laura is an Australian Post-rock band that started making music since 2001. In 2002 they released their first EP tittled "Photograph". After the release of their EP they went to the studio to release their first single in 2004, "We should keep this secret", which got a lot of praise and quickly caught the attention of the media. In 2005 they released their follow-up album to their EP, "Mapping Your Dreams". Slowly but surely, the band kept improving their sound and after a short vacation they went into the studio in early 2006 to record their next album. The result is "Radio Swan is Down", one of the top 10 best post-rock albums in 2006.

October 2011 brings their next release, the impressive "Twelve Hundred Times."

Laura tries hard not to use the quiet/loud formula being used by many bands in the genre and still be as emotional and intense as any other. Highly recommended for fans of the post-rock genre and prog rockers alike.

- Ruben Dario (Chamberry) -



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Approved by the Post-Rock Team



Discography:
Photographs, EP (2002)
Mapping your Dreams, studio album (2005)
Radio Swan is Down, studio album (2006)
Twelve Hundred Times (2011)

Laura official website

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LAURA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LAURA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 6 ratings
Mapping your Dreams
2005
3.99 | 11 ratings
Radio Swan is Down
2006
3.91 | 4 ratings
Twelve Hundred Times
2011

LAURA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
(re)capitulate
2007

LAURA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LAURA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LAURA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Photographs
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Hope
2006
3.50 | 2 ratings
Yes Maybe No
2008
3.00 | 1 ratings
This Grey Earth / Mark the Day
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Slow
2012

LAURA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Radio Swan is Down by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 11 ratings

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Radio Swan is Down
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Australian post-rock band Laura haven't had that much attention on here, which is a shame because Radio Swan Is Down is actually really good as far as post-rock albums go. I particularly like the way the band manage to chart a middle course between electronic/keyboard-dominated post-rock and the more guitar-oriented manifestations of the genre, as well as their incorporation of radio static and snippets; the likes of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor/A Silver Mt Zion had more or less stopped using such audio interventions in their composition, but Laura prove that there's still potential to use them for more purposes than mere cliche.

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 This Grey Earth / Mark the Day by LAURA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.00 | 1 ratings

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This Grey Earth / Mark the Day
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars While fans of Melbourne's post-rock band Laura were waiting with anticipation for the new album "Twelve Hundred Times," they were treated to a double-A single, both tracks later appearing on the album. "Twelve Hundred Times" is a superb piece of work (see my review on this site), in my opinion eclipsing their acclaimed 2006 breakthrough "Radio Swan is Down."

"This Grey Earth" begins in full throttle, full volume mode with ferocious drums/bass and massive guitar squall. This attack mode trades off with a quieter space for a mellow vocal verse. Perhaps one of the album's more conventional tracks it is still a good single showing off the heavier personality of the work. "Mark the Day" was a much more interesting song to me, beginning with a smoky trip-hop feel in the percussion and bass line, with airy synth in the background. Soaring yet sad vocals commence with lovely strings and brief, soft guitar chords. The finale builds with barely contained, overdriven electric guitar trying to break through the clouds. While no doubt a fantastic teaser there is now no reason not to move right on to the complete album, which is one of the post-rock highlights of 2011.

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 Twelve Hundred Times by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 4 ratings

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Twelve Hundred Times
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by 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!!!!

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 Mapping your Dreams by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.80 | 6 ratings

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Mapping your Dreams
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TheOppenheimer

4 stars Mapping your dreams is a highly enjoyablemusical journey, that will take you to childish memories, obscure trips and post-rock magnificence.

Get the album, press play. Jericho 1 comes in, instrumental, crescendo, and when getting to the climax... almost! It leaves you hanging there, shocked and begging for more. 6/10

Then comes Levodopa, in my opinion, the strongest tune in the album. Truly post-rock, a nice build-up, dreamy clean guitars and a mezmerizing synth that touches the listener. Instrumental, simply beautiful. 10/10

The third song, We Should Keep This Secret, nice song, maybe lacking of 'spark' or something that may draw attention. Soothing, instrumental (again), and kind of hypnotizing towards the end. 6/10

Fugitive, the next song, longer than the other tracks in the album, introduces vocals. Moody, deep and touching, something caracteristic of Laura. At the 4.38 mark it 'explodes', showing the heavier side of the band. Amazing song, captivating. 9/10

With Non Serviam, and its clean guitars and theremin-esque synths, Laura, once again delivers an instrumental full of passion, following the build-up / climax formula that suits them so well. 8/10

We Are Mapping Your Dreams, one of the strongest tracks, gets the listener into a dreamy field during the first part, and then crashes him against a post-rocky wall, only to bring him back to the clouds, and banging him once again, in an (yet again) instrumental that demonstrates Laura's compositional power. 10/10

Hikikomori is somewhat a more 'traditional' song, in a broader sense of the term. No explosion or climax, just a calm and flowish tune. Relaxing and entertaining. 6/10

Raise Your Flags features vocals and shows, once again, the typical calm/storm formula already described; nothing new, but not bad. 5/10

Ariadne, an interesting track, not different from the rest, but with an extended climax with crazy instrumentation, disonant strings and so. 8/10

The last track, Heliopause, includes a more 'folky' guitar work and vocals. Kind of boring at first, but the ending compensates a bit, in a manner of last effort. 6/10

All in all, it is a great album, it does not extends too far out of the build-up/climax formula, but accomplishes it really well. Levodopa and We Are Mapping Your Dreams surely deserve a couple of plays, and the rest of the album will surely captivate any post rock fan.

Final Score: 7/10, 4 stars.

Protip: These songs are heavy in an emotional sense, try adding some sensitivity to the listening.

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 Radio Swan is Down by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 11 ratings

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Radio Swan is Down
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Excellent post-rock from Australia!

A couple of things caught my attention here; first, I just wanted to know a post rock band which wasn't from the USA and Canada, and second, the name; a simple name like "Laura", a female name for a post rock band sounds interesting. So then, knowing they are from Australia led me to search for their music, and since the very first listen I was happy, very happy.

This album named "Radio Swan is Down" was released in 2006 and is their second studio album, it features 11 songs and over 64 minutes of great post rock. The first song is the title track (first part), which is an excellent introduction to their sound, a song that is slowly progressing and that is full of excellent noises made by several instruments, this one has cello which adds an excellent atmosphere which is later changed by guitars and drums, the final part is heavy Very nice opener.

Next one is "Is there no help for the Widow's Son", with 8 minutes of music is one of the longest tracks here, the first minute is very atmospheric but later a nervous guitar appears and changes the mood. The song again progresses slowly but this time the sound is heavier, though at minute 4 it slows down and provokes a chaotic feeling, but later?the song explodes and makes an awesome and interesting sound, great final part. "I Hope" is my favorite song here, and actually one of my favorite post rock songs ever. It is catchier maybe because of its vocals that in a way mark the rhythm of the melody. This is soft post rock with great guitars and a beautiful atmosphere, very emotional. Not saying that is the best song of the album, but at least the one that moves me the most. Beautiful.

"Numbers Stations" is a very nice piece, guitar driven post rock with excellent drums and magnificent use of cello in some parts, not my favorite but a pretty good track anyway. "Every Light" opens gently with guitars making a friendly sound until the first minute and a half when drums appear and the sound increases. Then there is a new cello sound making the song more emotional, nice. Next one is the shortest track, "Lake Vostok Beachfront" and could be part of the previous track without a doubt, but they decided to make it a different one, this is a calm and soft short track with guitars and some synth effects making the atmosphere, nothing more.

"It's Kind Of Like the Innocent Smiles You Get At the start Of A Relationship Before You Fuck it Up", what a title, this song is very good, opens with soft drumming and some synth but then a new structure is being built up, the guitar work here is excellent and it is importan to mention that the keyboard sound makes this song even better, very emotive, if you are in the mood, it may cause you goose bumps.

The second part of the title track is the following song, some spoken vocals (yeah like a radio) sound over there, while there is a synth and some effects sounding here and there. Later the cello (which is an essential instrument in this album) appears and adds that exquisite and melancholic sound to the song. At minute 3 drums start playing but the same structure prevails. This is a tranquil, charming song.

"Patterns not People" starts with some weird sounds, the rhythm is very slow, it is the second track featuring vocals, but different from the others, this may bore you, it lacks that emotion and energy that the previous songs share.

"Cambridge Bypass" follows the same path, I mean it is a very soft song, the first part of it is space I would even call it an ambient song instead of a post rock one, but later guitars and vocals appear. However, the position will be the same at the end, a soft song with some strange noises but with a relaxing atmosphere.

The album ends with "Another Near Miss" which is very different, since the beginning you can tell it by the acoustic guitar, a couple of minutes are like that but then the song makes a sudden change into a heavier sound, and the words post rock appear in caps.

This album is excellent, one of those post rock albums that really do something on me, one of those I enjoy listening to every next time, and an album that I would like to suggest to any prog rock fan, so my final grade is 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Radio Swan is Down by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 11 ratings

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Radio Swan is Down
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It took a while but this band has won me over. I was surprised at how loud, chaotic, dark and heavy this album is at times. It really is an emotional rollercoaster with sadness, anger and despair being prominant much of the time. There's also beauty and joy like on the song "I Hope". LAURA are a six piece Post-Rock band from Melbourne, Australia. One of the members plays cello which adds to the emotion at times. They supported ISIS on their tour of Australia back in 2007, so yes they can bring the wall of sound when they want to.

"Radio Swan Is Down Part 1" opens with melancholic cello and heavy but slowly beaten drums. Distorted guitar comes in before a minute making some noise.The tempo picks up before 3 1/2 minutes until it's chaotic and loud 5 minutes in. "Is There No Help For The Widow's Son" is atmospheric to open with strange sounds effects. A guitar melody comes in and then the sound gets fuller 2 minutes in. Even fuller a minute later as drums come in. It's loud and chaotic 4 minutes in, and the Post-Rock style guitars are killer after 5 1/2 minutes. "I Hope" has vocals in it. We get some heaviness 1 1/2 minutes in but I love the sound when it settles somewhat.The contrast continues. It's so uplifting after 4 minutes as the vocals cry out. Emotional. "Numbers Stations" opens with weird sounds as the drums come in and guitar follows. Great sound here. Cello and a calm after 2 minutes. It's building to a heavy and emotional finale. "Every Light" opens with some intricate guitar melodies before the drums and fuller sound arrive. It gets louder and fuller. "Like Vostack Beachfront" begins softly and slowly builds but it never gets that loud or full before calming back down.

"It's Kind Of Like The Innocent Smiles You Get At the start Of A Relationship Before You Fuck it Up" opens with drums, keys and guitar that are slowly building. I like this one.It settles somewhat (love the keys) before building again. Nice. "Radio Swan Is Down Part 2" opens with spoken word samples as mellow music plays along. Cello before 1 1/2 minutes. It becomes more hopeful and peaceful sounding 4 minutes in. Spoken word samples return before 5 1/2 minutes. "Patterns Not People" is the one song i'm not a fan of. It's experimental with vocals. "Cambridge Bypass" is spacey to start out with synths. It's dark. Some distorted guitar sounds come in. A louder sound with drums 3 1/2 minutes in. Vocal samples 5 minutes in as it settles. A spacey calm before 7 minutes to end it. Good track. "Another Near Miss" makes me smile with the acoustic guitar melodies early. Light drums come in at 1 1/2 minutes. Distorted guitar and a fuller sound 2 minutes in. Great sound as the tempo picks up. It calms right down before 4 minutes. Some guest trumpet here as well.

4 stars in my opinion and if your into Post-Rock I highly recommend you check this album out.

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 Radio Swan is Down by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 11 ratings

BUY
Radio Swan is Down
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Coloring the mental landscapes at your private waters edge

Different albums can serve specific purposes in one's life and they can also mean different things to different people. Radio Swan is an amazing album that already has a special purpose to me: this is a modern day meditation, a form of therapy for walking around in this world, both literally and figuratively. If you love to put on the headphones when you go out to walk, run, or ski, and you want the music that can help you escape the unwanted blabbering of your running thoughts as well as the noise of other people around you, this album is perfect. If you want music that will slowly creep into the grey of your thoughts and feelings, and color them as it drives you physically as well, look no further. Radio Swan inhabits but doesn't take over, it colors but it doesn't smother you, it helps you escape and feel better but it never compromises or panders. I hate to make comparisons to an album this special so I do so with the disclaimer that these are loose comparisons, Laura is a band all its own. You may hear bits of Sigur Ros in their sound but Laura is warmer and has very few vocals. You may hear bits of Kayo, but Laura is more uplifting, less crushing, more nuanced, and again lacks the tortured vocal of KD. You may even hear the influence of space rock and pop music that I hear in places. There are lots of surprises that reveal themselves over many plays. But my favorite thing about Radio Swan is simply its emotion and the way that it demands silence from my thinking mind. As in meditation, if you can actually quiet your mind while you listen to this, you have a much better chance of gaining something meaningful as it washes over you. Play it on headphones while taking a brisk walk on a cold winter day when you can see your breath, turn it up loud and see where it takes you.

Everything unfolds very slowly here and there is always an array of sounds coming and going, melodies that entice you like a siren but vanish just before you find her. You just can't always process everything that is going on but you don't need to. What I like about this album is that there is so much textural variance it doesn't kill you with heaviness or bore you with minimalism. You are given one interesting idea after another to chew on, you are always challenged and entertained by the care and skill taken in layering all of the many sounds and moods.

As mentioned a track by track is as pointless as comparisons to other bands is, but just a few brief notes: "Radio Swan is Down part 1" features some really nice cello over cascading guitar fuzz and slow, brooding drum beats. It crescendos to a harrowing ending of chaos that pulls you in for the long ride. "Is there no help" begins with spacey samples, clean picked guitar notes and then crunchy chords. Like the first song this builds and gets heavier as it goes. "I hope" has some vocalizations that remind me of Adrian Belew and the song has an accessible heavy pop approach. "Numbers Stations" is a wall of sound plain and simple. "Every Light" is a real favorite, with very expressive use of clean guitar and samples, quite uplifting. "Lake Vostok Beachfront" is a very short, quiet, and contemplative guitar solo that is pure fog, pure ambiance. "It's kind of like the innocent smiles you get at the start of a relationship before you f*ck everything up" wins the Fiona Apple song title award for 2006. But despite the precious title it's another killer track, my favorite. It has a little bit of jazzy snap to the rhythm at first but the guitars are once again drowning you in a very spacey slurry occasional augmented by perfect keyboard accompaniments. "Radio Swan part 2" is all bleary-eyed atmosphere with the cello returning and a song so sad you'll weep at the kitchen table as you sit there alone in your underwear nursing that hangover and doing a resin scrape. (Just joking of course.) But you'll weep with hope because even the sadness here is tempered with light. Strange unintelligible vocals are sprinkled throughout adding to the mystery. I agree with Ruben that there is a slight drop in quality to the last three tracks-it's almost like Radio Swan part 2 should have closed the album which would have been perfect-and then these last three songs would be bonus tracks. They don't suck but they just aren't as amazing as the rest. More laid back and detached.

If you've been turned off by things like Kayo or Sigur or others, thinking none of these groups are musically fulfilling enough, you might give the genre one more try with Laura. This is not music you listen to in common circumstances like singing along in the car or having beers with people over. This is music to be alone to. This is stunningly beautiful music for people with an open musical mind and essential for fans of the genre.

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 Radio Swan is Down by LAURA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 11 ratings

BUY
Radio Swan is Down
Laura Post Rock/Math rock

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A breath of fresh air!

Laura was one of the most talked about post-rock bands in the past year with their slightly different take on their music. The formulaic sound that many (not all) bands from the genre have is nowhere to be seen in this album, and what a wonderful sight that is!

I've never been this exited about an album from the genre since last year's Enjoy Eternal Bliss by Yndi Halda. Although there's clearly a big difference in their sound. While in my eyes Yndi Halda managed to improve and perfect the clichés about the genre making it look like a it was 2002 all over again, Laura on the other hand are in the vanguard of the genre slowly breaking new walls and opening new paths for other bands to follow.

The instrumentation is still common using the guitars as the forefront of their sound while vibraphones, violins, piano ect. help to make their sound as full as possible. The difference is in how they use it. As I said earlier, and probably be saying in the rest of the review, they don't follow any pattern already made by previous bands so this makes the album a nice varied experience. There isn't a single song that sound alike to another, but still it doesn't sound like a mish mash of sounds and its always focused (a thing which many people feel bands from the genre lack). The songs aren't long and they don't overstay their welcome. There's a different variety of themes in the songs all which make the album vary in emotions as well. As we all know post-rock bands are more concerned about making you feel rather than anything else and Laura isn't the exception. From love to hate, to despair, to joy, to anger, to nostalgia, you name it Laura pretty much covers it with its eleven songs and hour and four minutes of running time. My favorite song from the album is the breathtaking "I Hope". I can't really express my feelings I get when listening to this song. It's one of the three songs that uses vocals and the vocals are what makes this song what it is: simply wonderful. There's a bit of a problem though. The album has it's high quality material up front and by the end of the album the difference can be clearly felt with the only exception being the last song. But don't make this comment slow you down, this is still one of the best releases of the last year and one of the better albums from the genre.

At the end of the day you'll get an overall excellent album with very little drawbacks and a nice well needed distinctive sound. I strongly recommend this album for fans of melodic prog and post-rock fans in need of a new and refreshing sound.

4.5

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Thanks to chamberry for the artist addition. and to Finnforest for the last updates

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