It is rather unusual these days to listen to unpredictable music, one would have to go deep into the experimental section of a vinyl store to get drowned into unfamiliar sounds.
It is even more interesting when this idea of experimenting is soaked into a common genre like indie or alternative music, transforming the compositions and the songs into personal statements, melodic visions.
The result is usually surprising reflecting different perspective about how things can be done, heard and felt.
Hard To Be Around works as a sneak peek into Kyle Wood’s psyche, from rocking melodies that reveals a certain philosophy of life (‘Me, Crying As A Kid’; ‘Fine, Whatever’) to sweet and quiet soothing riffs exposing a delicate side to the singer’s versatile attitude (‘Not Going Out’; ‘If My Brain Had An Ass I Would Kick It’).
The album is nothing but an obscure trip down the singer’s brightest and darkest sides, the whole musical work sometimes echoes as a concept that seems out of range and splattered across one’s eardrums in no particular order, but it mystically keeps you on the edge of your seat after every track.
After all music is art and should sometimes be seen as only what it is, i.e. sounds combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
The conceptual mixtape goes through every emotion like a catalogue, from the softness of ‘Arms’ with its reverberating vocals echoing a quiet and drifting guitar riff to the marching ‘One Final, Clumsy, Desperate Waltz’ whose lyrics are inexistent, but replaced by a dialogue between two French protagonists (one can be recognized as Audrey Tautou), birds are whispering, kids are playing around as the music gets louder and louder; every song is an invitation to Wood’s limitless imaginarium.
‘Don’t Try to Stop Me Smee!!!’ is a delicate musical mixture between the sound of a banjo and a beatbox machine, of course depicted this way it does not sound appealing, but the vocals push the boundaries of those two instruments creating, for more than three minutes, an ephemeral harmony exposing another side of LTTM’s talent.
But LTTM does not forget his punk/pop roots and through the whole album a few isolated powerful and loud tracks appear (‘Fine ,Whatever’; ‘Result!’).
And yes sometimes it takes a few listens to fully grasp the band’s intentions like on the long minute-and-half of musical moaning and screaming beat-making that is ‘Sorry, I Don’t Smoke’, but everything seems to fall into a certain chaotic yet melodic order.
The album is an absolute delight if your mainstream conscious is switched off, it is undoubtedly flawed, but most of those flaws turn this album into a rare piece of raw music with its only purpose to provoke emotions in whoever dares to listen to it.
It is fresh and eccentric, but at the same time delicate and intimate.
Words: Jeremy Veyret