reviewed by Michael Thomas
Anyone who has heard a Del Bel song will tell you that among the band’s cinematic, noir-ish music, one thing that brings the music into the realm of excellence is Lisa Conway’s voice. It’s mysterious, powerful and magnetic. She’s lent her voice to other projects, including her own venture, L CON, and the results are no less stellar.
“Stellar” is the operative word. A few years ago she floored us with The Ballad Project and its boundary-less avant-pop kingdom, and Moon Milk is now here to show that there’s no end to her creativity. Here, Conway et al are making music for space—not for some bullshit sci-fi version of it, but the deep expanse. It channels loneliness and confusion and sadness, but also, a kind of crystalline beauty.
It’s hard to escape talking about space on this new collection, with song titles like “The Light-Years” and “A Sign in Space” and “The Distance of the Moon,” to name just a few. While it’s not explicitly a space-themed album, space itself seems to be an embodiment of human emotion and longing.
Last year we got a tease of this record with a 7″ containing :”The Distance of the Moon” and “Without Colours,” and here the songs are even more fleshed out. “Distance” in particular has turned into a masterpiece; the slow, minimal drum machine, powerful horns and Conway’s voice bringing the song into space. When she sings “We were suspended” you can almost picture looking out into a sea of stars. “Without Colours” has barely anything more than Mary Margaret Wood’s voice, and that’s enough to make it especially haunting.
Slow-burning noir songs have always been Conway’s strong suit. “At Daybreak” is a song to be played at exactly that time. As she talks about “the darkest dark,” swells of horns give way to a darker melody. “The Spiral” is a love song with a galactic twist: she starts by singing “I have been in love with you for 500 million years.”
Of course, Conway also proves here that she can bring faster-paced songs into her repertoire too. “A Sign in Space” is a full-on jam, the drum-machine/guitar interplay making this a song to groove to. And speaking of grooves, “Form of Space” takes a sparse percussion loop and builds another groovy number. Sometimes L CON surprises just by its bluntness: among the guitar of “How Much Shall We Bet?” Conway asks, repeatedly. “Are you happy?” It’s a lot to ponder when taking in her songs, and it makes it all the more powerful.
L CON, just like Lisa Conway, exudes an aura of mystery. But it’s just mysterious enough to sweep you into its arms and bring you somewhere you never knew you needed to see.
Top Tracks: “The Distance of the Moon”; “A Sign in Space”; “Form of Space”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*