Friday, December 03, 2010

Album: Lavinia - There Is Light Between Us EP

Band: Lavinia
Album: There Is Light Between Us EP
Label: The Mylene Sheath
Year: 2010

01. Destroy Yourself
02. A Damning Confession
03. Fires
04. Windmills
05. Bone And Arrow

In Roman mythology, Lavinia was the daughter of Latinus and Amata. She was the lone child of the king and was eventually courted by many men in Ausonia who hoped to become the next king of Latium. Turnus, ruler of the Rutuli, was promised Lavinia, having the favor of Queen Amata. However, King Latinus is later warned by the oracle Faunus that his daughter is not to marry a Latin, and eventually Lavinia weds Aeneas, son of Aphrodite and progenitor of the Romans. In Book 7 of the Aeneid, during the sacrifice at the altars of the gods, Lavinia’s hair catches on fire, an omen promising glorious days to come for Lavinia and war for all Latins.

It is within a shroud of this same mythological fire that Lavinia, a new band hailing from Boston, MA, introduces their debut EP “There Is Light Between Us”. The band consists of current & former members of indie rock heavyweights such as Caspian, Eksi Ekso, The Burning Paris, On Fire, and the Fatal Flaw, but should never be confused as some sort of “side project”. Bleak, dark, and unforgiving - Lavinia trudge through terrain that is much different than any of the members other projects. And while there is an underlying hope in each song - the album dwells in an unshakable depression. A feeling of isolation and loneliness further exposed by the heart-on-the-sleeve vocals of guitarist/vocalist Nate Shumaker (ex-Eksi Ekso, On Fire, The Burning Paris, Everdown), that brings to mind a combination of Red House Painter’s Mark Kozelek and The Cure’s Robert Smith. Pair that up with the commanding bass wielding of Philip Jaimeson (main axe man of Caspian), the towering drum fills of Alex Mihm (Eksi Ekso), and the slide guitar & banjo atmospherics of Josh Megyesy (ex-On Fire, The Burning Paris, The Fatal Flaw), and you’ve got the makings of a band who’s sound shares more in common with roman mythology, than it does their own contemporaries and peers.

Recorded in multiple locations throughout 2010, including New Alliance with Ethan Dussault and Verse Media with John Helmig, mastered by Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) at Jason Martin Recording in Riverside, CA, the album captures the sound of a band discovering new and exciting sonic territory with no rules in place. A band creating music that they want to create, for the sake of creating it to exist. Doesn’t sound like a novel idea to you? Well, unfortunately it is in today's music industry and it’s incredibly refreshing to hear how easily this sound of creative freedom can come across when a band effortlessly executes without paying mind to outside pressures or expectations. The band takes us through five tracks in just under 28 minutes which brings to mind the moodiness of bands such as Red House Painters, Mogwai, The Cure, early Crooked Fingers, Starflyer 59, and Scott Walker while incorporating the heaviness of behemoths such as Black Sabbath, My Bloody Valentine, Isis, Jesu, and The Twilight Sad. The combination of these elements seamlessly meld together to create a document of visionary proportions.

Much like Turnus declaring war on Aeneas after losing the mythological Lavinia to him, our Lavinia comes forward with all the emotional intensity of such a war. Turnus was ultimately destroyed and his people captured by Aeneas, though Lavinia’s father, Latinus, died in the war, teaching us progress cannot be made without sacrifice. The sound of Lavinia’s debut EP “There Is Light Between Us” embodies this philosophy to it’s very definition.

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