LAMP: Scales of Fortune (2014)
“A bit less rhythmic, it remains a solid opus where the guitar is just to immersive. And it's still some good and solid England School”
1 Serendipity 15:05
2 Calamity 15:18
3 Adversity 15:28
4 Fortunity 15:10
(CD/DDL 61:11) (V.F.)
(Soft England School)
The Three Towers had literally seduced the fans of EM in the spring of 2012. The fusion between the very electronic approach of Michael Shipway and that dreamier, more bohemian of Garth Jones had split two universes of which the paradoxes overlapped in a style where the Berlin and England School displayed a poetic vision until then unequalled. Always inspired by the tales of Bernodine, SCALES OF FORTUNE proposes us on the other hand an EM a little bit more soothing than that of the first album of the English duet with four sonic chapters of which the soft and subtle evolutions fall down in finales sometimes stormy but often deliciously lively. And although less clubbing than The Three Towers, this last opus of Lamp stays an attractive sonic adventure, in particular because of the very incisive tone of the Burns Hank Marvin Signature guitar. Its tears are really penetrating, like hits of scalpel on the soul. But it stays before and beyond all a very electronic album where the guitar and the synths are really compatible.
A humming where are hiding astral voices and dust from stars opens the doors to Serendipity. The onset is very relaxing and carpeted of an astral nebulosity with lot of mists which murmur as much as the choruses. Their cosmic harmonies flow on the soft caresses of a guitar of which the strings pinch and make sing sad and solitary airs sometimes sober and sometimes acute, like a slow morphic blues which refuses to cement, which, sometimes, give goosebumps. We float in a soft ethereal romantic world when a line of sequences unwinds its keys which deeply skip in the shadows of a heavy and brief bass line. The rhythm which takes shape stays as ambient as this lunar decoration. It tumbles with weak jingles and hangs onto the impulses of this bass line which breathes as a threat but also as a future implosion while the synth frees cyclic loops which coo as short harmonious solos. From then on, Garth Jones's six-strings and Michael Shipway's synth are exchanging solos and harmonies, decorating the music with good poetic duels which will be as much attractive as the most beautiful words on paper. Everything is in evolution mode in the universes of Lamp. Sequences draw a kind of rhythm which circulates as an upward spiral supported by good and sober electronic percussions. The road of this temperate electronic rock is wrapped of a dense cloud of fog, reminding the charms of The Three Towers, and by very soothing electronic tones which make noise with the brief lamentations and as well as Garth Jones' short solos which float in beautiful effects of Mellotron. The rhythm gets carried away in the last moments with a good very English electronic rock while the harmonies are divided between the very dreamy guitar of Garth Jones and some very nice synth solos perfumed of the beautiful years of the England progressive rock. Built in three stages, Calamity crosses a long passage clouded with mysteries and with cloudiness. A long sinister intro where prowl electric streaks and hoops which get loose as soon as the extremities make contact. Fogs and tones, like a field of ruins fed by radioactivity. A delicate movement of sequences rises a little after the 4th minute spot, drawing a peaceful rhythm which glitters beneath some very charming synth solos and the harmonies, contrasting in tones, of the six-strings. This electronic and electric duel becomes the bases of a lyrical ode where the music replaces the words in a mesmerizing space of mist and where the flutes are whistling some very charming harmonies. This is soft and very near the electronic hymns of the Tangerine Dream Jive years. These harmonies freeze a little after the point of 9 minutes. The sequences hiccup and hop then more insistently, plunging Calamity into a good rhythmic ride which equals The Three Towers' heavy electronic rhythms.
Adversity doesn't waste time! The sequences stamp an electronic rhythm which waddles with a good swiftness under the bites of guitar of which the tone is an elixir of charms. The electronic effects and the arrangements contrive a dramatic approach while Garth Jones' guitar continues to pull the hairs from our arms. No jokes, he is as incisive and precise as the most famous plastic surgeon. The esthetic is wonderful. The solos cry on this movement of sequences which skip such as goblins who avoid burning the sole of the feet. Sequences are always present and feed this minimalist electronic movement, with this subtle but present crescendo which operates its charm. And the guitar speaks to us through a dense cloud of mist. It's magic, soft and frankly striking. The rhythm grows slowly before exploding towards the 11th minute, tipping over Adversity into a good electronic rock coated of good Mellotron and, specially, decorated with good solos from Michael Shipway which has absolutely nothing to envy to his partner in music. This is, imho, the most beautiful piece of music on SCALES OF FORTUNE. Fortunity drinks a little of the origins of Serendipity, but with a bipolar sonic decoration where elements dither between a bucolic or a cosmic state. The guitar is omnipresent, but never shade the synths nor the electronic effects, and throws harmonies, or harmonious solos, which roam with the same ambiguity than the decoration. A pulsing bass line undulates slyly, forging a gravitational rhythm which runs in loop over good synth solos. The setting reminds to me of a Western mood, for the solitary rhythm, quite electronic. The structure of rhythm changes skin without turning things upside down. Like a solid electronic Country-rock well peppered by a guitar which always gives this tint of blues to the soul. Shipway and Jones are yet exchanging solos with forms and colors which mould themselves to our feelings on a structure, after a short ambient-static passage, which becomes as heavy as lively. Like a solid e-rock, like this good old England School whose coat of arms carries now the seal of Lamp, Volt and The Tylas Cyndrome. All universes you really must discover...
Sylvain Lupari (06/01/15) *****
Available at Groove NL