Label: Thrill Jockey Release date: 10/05/10 Link:Official Site MP3/Buy: Love Rhombus l Amazon Mid-fi, not quite high fidelity and not quite the shitgaze preferred lo-fi, is dangerous ground. It's hard to do well, even harder to get popular these days, and yet deceivingly simple. Luckily, Lazer Crystal manage to do a pretty good job at it, despite a few flaws here and there. Fitting the Roman numeral title of MCMLXXX, many songs come off as being 1980s artefacts. Not material culled from old mouldering cassette tapes and the like, but the kind of music heard in old videos and obscure 45s. All the drums have that warm, slightly overdriven, and gritty sound expected from old VHS tapes, often mixed with very modest and slightly Vangelis mood synths recorded in the same style. Like most electronic, the instrumentals speak volumes, yet the effected vocals intone more. Never over-effected like so many acts (I am looking at you, Cold Cave), and often unsettlingly gothic in delivery, they blend either in like Bauhaus (on moody single fodder ‘Love Rhombus’) or like a slightly more staid Brian Eno circa Bowie days (check ‘National Handbag’). Given the current overpopulation of chill-wave, it is almost daring to have mellow fuzzed out electronic with vocals that does not have heavy reverb on everything and overused side chain on every kick hit. Yes, at times the songs can be a bit too long or seem self-indulgent, but rarely does it seem to be ego driven. Each song gets time to breathe and develop – some just lag way behind, or have a few tiresome elements that grate, but hey it is to be expected. With almost 45 minutes of music, it is forgivable to skip three or four minutes once every four songs or so. Hell, it is acceptable especially given most track-lengths on the album. Yeah, sure, go ahead and group them in with other bands, but Lazer Crystal are at least trying out something a little different. The band’s pedigree with Mahjohngg helps understand their love of more outré moments and fascination with rapid fire percussion. And say what you will, but at least it is not chill-wave. Photobucket