Record review: Laurence and the Slab Boys – Lo-Fi Disgrace [Grumpy]

Lo-Fi Disgrace is the debut album by Laurence and the Slab Boys, the brainchild of Larry Reid, formerly of the now disbanded Cinematics.

 

It’s always hard for a musician to start again after being in such an established act.

You go from having lots of fans to having no fans and you will always inevitably be compared to your previous band until you have established yourself.

Well, as it so happens there’ll be no comparison here because I’ve heard maybe two songs by the Cinematics and after listening to this album I’m thinking maybe I should go listen to them because this album is simply brilliant.

Lyrically it’s superb.

Steve Albini once said that the best albums where ones where you feel as if a connection had been made between you and the band, an album that you could listen to without knowing anything about the band and afterwards feel as if you knew them in an almost personal way.

A one-way conversation if you will that means something beyond the music.

That is what this album achieves, it speaks to you, you can feel Reid’s isolation, his loneliness, his uncertainty and you get the impression that this is it.

It’s all or nothing and it really comes through.

The instrumentation is very appropriate, the drums have a commanding presence with their simple syncopated rhythms that lock everything together perfectly while the guitars are layered together excellently with catchy hooks that avoid being annoying and make heavy use of reverb and delay without taking away from the substance of the notes being played.

The voice is very soft and it has a characteristic slur that reminds me slightly of Shane MacGowan.

The thing I like most is the way it all blends together, your attention is always drawn to the song as a whole rather than one instrument or the voice and the dynamics are exceptional.

There is also something distinctly modest about it that I can’t put my finger on.

Recommended tracks: ‘Mushroom’, ‘Do for Diamond’, ‘K.E.O’

Words: Robin Sapkota

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