Review- “EP”- The Lobs

the lobs epreviewed by Michael Thomas

It’s getting harder and harder to categorize music, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Whereas at one point one could easily say “this is country” or “this is rap” or “this is punk,” we now have in our arsenal adjectives that solely describe one band (Elephant Stone’s “hindie rock” or Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s “noh-wave”) to genre fusions like “electro-folk” or “roots-rock.”

Some of the adjectives that The Lobs, a duo out of Montreal, uses to describe themselves on their Bandcamp page are “no wave,” “noise,” “experimental” and “pop.” A listener probably won’t be prepared simply by those adjectives for what will ensue, though maybe “experimental” might help a bit.

The EP, which will shortly be followed up by a full-length, is full of so many sounds that it’s almost hard to figure out what’s what. A challenging listen is always a good thing. Take for example, the opener “The devils here.” It wastes no time in going full-out with what sounds like horns over synths over percussion, all accompanied by vocals from Jared Brown that sound a bit like Paul Saulnier of PS I Love You. In terms of recording quality this sounds a little rougher, but it’s perhaps the most thrilling song on the EP and opens it with a punch.

The music dramatically shifts to a creepy vibe with the song “Just you.” The song this time features vocals from Kate Heffring, as well as some synthesizers that sound like they could be the theme music for a horror movie. The creepiness continues with “Noise Amongst Aliens,” an instrumental number that swirls with strange sounds.

And the music keeps shifting and shifting until the end of the EP. For some listeners it will be a “What did I just listen to?” moment, and here’s hoping it’s one that will compel them to listen again and pick out all the nuances. The EP is available for download, and on cassette, from Bandcamp. Look for the full-length LP which comes out February 28.

Top Track: “The devils here”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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