The Laurels - This City Is Coming Down from Plains
The debut The Laurels album is out, after years. and years. and years, of already knowing they were one of the most accomplished bands in Sydney. It’s great. It starts with Tidal Wave, a huge song that also opened the band’s 2007 demo sounding about a quarter as loud as the current version, but, even with the bedroom production from that demo, has always just seemed much too massive to be the product of anything but a Really Good Band. The melodies in the Laurels songs are just so robust, and so beautiful, it’s instantly clear how good they are at songwriting, how dedicated to extending a sound that grew up in the sixties, discovered distortion and glide guitar with MBV, and now gains another new and incredible addition to its formidable catalogue in Plains.
The actual Laurels sound has changed a bit, probably in part due to the influence of Liam Judson’s production. Older songs like closer, A Rival, and Glacier, lose some of the all encompassing shoegaze sound wave that has graced every Laurels show for years, but where I think A Rival is a little lacking for it, Glacier springs anew, the clarity of Plain’s production giving the guitarwork more attention, and the songs are no longer a single buzzing wall, but a shifting mix of tones.
You can suddenly hear the vocals clearly? huh. The songs don’t suffer at all for it, they just gain another element in the mix, but it adds something new, songs like This City Is Coming Down and Manic Saturday oddly gaining slight Beatles-like vibes(?). These new songs are great, if different. Single, Changing The Timeline is different in a whole different way again, a buzzing crazy blast.
It’s all great. Listen. Thank goodness it exists. The full album can be streamed below.
Photo by Ali Scott