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Chicago, United States

Credit - Nico Fernandez

‘Integrals’ is the latest album from the experimental mind of The Laconic, it features expressive instrumentals that rise and fall throughout the album, dipping into rock, funk and sometimes jazz while keeping a steadfast otherworldly sound. The album's draw is in its guitar playing style, a touch (or tap) guitar sound that decides the feeling of each track. Whether it be fast and chaotic, with the guitar playing various layers of drones that alight and ricochet on tangents; or slow and steady, the melody coming from the guitar and raining down over the bass, drums and other accoutrements. The guitar is at the centre of the sound that The Laconic present to us within ‘Integrals’ and it works to achieve a nuanced and complex tone that is exciting and engaging.

The album is entirely instrumental and feels like one sonic experience if listened to in one sitting which is definitely what I would recommend for this album. Beginning with, ‘Anthem’ the sound, the drama, begins - and it does so in a blaze of darkness. A bass rips out and shudders, staccato. Drums splash the sky with bright cymbals and the melody creeps in slowly. The guitar riff is a neon sunrise, pulling us out of the gloom as the song goes on. It layers up and peels down in sharp stops and starts before ending in a wave of sound. ‘Sietch’ and ‘Tensor’ follow on from this explosion and grow with its fruits, rising from the ashes of the noise with smaller more delicate melodies that play with timings and mirrored bass lines. Together they move us away from the dark and into…

‘Solstice’, a new age. A turning point. The song is vibrant, filled with pads and clicking drums. The touch guitar climbs vines of progress and rises through harmonic cyclical melodies that move from highs through the lows never once clashing, a ballet in sound. It's ephemeral, setting up the soundscape for what’s to come.

‘DBS’ (commonly standing for ‘Direct Broadcast Satellite’) connects to us from the vastness. It's beat-heavy and feels impending. The bass carries the song through its transformations, from operatic bass to an almost disco feel. It's futuristic, it's fun and it's a great melody, hooking itself into your mind’s ear with alien efficiency. ‘Strider’ follows and is my favourite track on ‘Integrals’. It bounces and tells a story of a journey. It moves and shifts, using chopping synths alongside the guitar to create sympathetic harmonies that soar through emotive ages. It's a song that makes you think inward, makes you look at where you’ve come and where you have left to go. It also happens to have some amazing melodic lines and high tonal textures that mix with the drums in a blend of crunchy and smooth, adding a brilliant contrast within the song itself.

Finishing the album off comes, ‘Implant’ and ‘Integral’. The former is a beat-heavy fast-paced, cyberpunk track of heavy rock proportions. It's like you’re screaming through Night City a million miles a second. The neon lights in the skyscraper windows become one blended string of colour, as the melody clashes within itself and twirls. A great setup for ‘Integral’, which opens with horns and synths, harmonising in the silence. The guitar picks the melody up quickly and the drums slide into a funky groove that waits for keys and pads to sing us home. ‘Integral’ feels like the closing credits. It's a goodbye to the songs, to the stories, to the inspirations. The coming home song at the end of a years-long journey. A fitting end for an expansive album, one that hit a narrative of reform and reflection for me. The instruments sing in a chorus of what was and what could be. ‘Integrals’ by The Laconic writes a story through song, one that is closer to all of us than we may think.


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