Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lorelei - Enterprising Sidewalks LP (Slumberland)

It has been nearly a quarter of a century since distortion, feedback and volume joined to form an unremitting flesh. It jostled the  pedantry of post-punk and offered a backbone to sentimental pop across the Atlantic. At once a warm blanket and fierce intimidator, shoegaze liberated the twee literati. At the helm was Washington DC’s Slumberland Records, an imprint that established lines for these transatlantic sentiments and then some. As important as it was to introduce Stereolab to America, it was the nurture and support to bands like The Lilys, The Swirlies and Lorelei that cultivated the American underground pop aesthetic as we know it. 

Lorelei’s Everyone Must Touch the Stove emerged in 1994 as an unassuming document of what features could be added to this pop underground. Suburban, yet steeped in American romanticism, this was a truly special record that, due to its raw beauty, got away with the implementation of exotic instruments. It exemplified what Emily Dickinson qualified in saying, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

With Enterprising Sidewalks, this is not a risk. The uncertainty of youth has been resolved in Lorelei’s lacunae. (A likeness was marginally more evident on their 2003 EP, Informed by the Future.) Instead of fractured eccentricity, we have wholesome craft. Lorelei has evolved appropriately, but they are not without urgency. Self-immolation be damned, their pop prowess is directed out. Enterprising Sidewalks is more a call to arms set forth by ’90s peers like Moonshake in “City Poison.” Leading by example, it walks the streets sidestepping dilettantes.
Elizabeth Murphy

                                                                                                                                      -from Agit Reader