Ln is a fascinating, enigmatic group that crafts sullen, moody music, fusing slow-core, dream-pop, and folk tendencies. With five releases California’s Velvet Blue Music, Ln has crafted a devoted following with their dark music. Gravity Gun, the band’s 4th ep, follows hot on the heels of 2002’s highly-praised full-length Novel, and offers a similar ethic of painfully beautiful music.
Beginning with the meandering, 8 minute-plus “The Painter”, Ln wastes no time in establishing a mood of foreboding with layers of effected guitars, and front man Gary Murray‘s deep pensive voice. “The Painter” reveals a slightly more aggressive side of Ln, with distorted guitars crunching out a solo over the reverbed base of sound in the song’s climax. This track finds Ln sounding like a band more so than on any other Ln track, as the musicians jam for an extended time through the outro of the song. Excellent
Following the immensely dense and ultimately satisfying first track, Ln offers a stripped-down interpretation of “Down the Willow Garden”, with a bare acoustic guitars and Murray‘s ever improving voice. In two short tracks, Ln proves their mettle by contrasting two opposing approaches to songs, yet both songs remain cohesive with their mellow sounds and sense of impending. Fans of Novel are familiar with this varying approach to different tracks, and fans of that cd will feel right at home with Gravity Gun.
“Break Your Bones” follows. Featured on the recent “Past and Present” compilation put out by Velvet Blue Music, the song hearkens back to earlier Ln releases (especially the Imaginary Cars era of Ln), with Murray‘s hushed vocals and the overall lush production of the song. This lush production is one of the immediate qualities of Ln‘s releases that sets it apart from so many other independent bands. Somehow, a group of relative “no names” have yet again been able to record a high quality professional cd, which is no small task given the amount of tracks used by Ln on songs such as “Break Your Bones”.
Gravity Gun, a short song in the vein of “Never Meant to Make You Cry” or “Christmas Tiger”, features the stripped-down aspect of Ln‘s music, and is followed by “Fall Where They May”, a sad song featuring a myriad of wonderful sounds (piano, inventive drumming, screaming guitars in the distance). Murray croons “Let The Stars Fall Where They May” over this conglomeration of sounds, delicately fashioned to lull the listener.
Ln wraps up the cd with another of their excellently titled songs “You Can Never Go Home Again”. Featuring a muted harmonica, picking guitar, and soft vocals from Murray, the closing track neatly wraps up the ep with a lush-sounding, yet deceptively stripped down song, uniting both recent approaches that Ln has taken with their music.
That Ln is a very special band is becoming more and more obvious with each release. There is something slightly romantic about a rotating cast of musicians who rarely if ever play live, led by a mysterious front-man, making such dark, morose music out of Ohio. There is also something terribly wrong with the music industry when such efforts by this band go largely unnoticed in the music world. When it comes to a creative, independent ethic that creates music that is fascinating and even mind-boggling at times, Ln is the real deal. With their great songwriting, masterful use of odd sounds, and dark mystifying lyrics, Ln has proven themselves once again as the total package for fans of slow-core/dream-pop. This ep is simply an excellent expression of music, and will be in my player for a long time.