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The Luyas – Human Voicing

Thursday 16th, March 2017 / 21:49
By Liam Prost

Paper Bag Records

With arms into Montreal’s finest acts such as Arcade Fire and Belle Orchestre, The Luyas surprise more in approach than in execution. There is a familiar baroque instrumental complexity, but much less of the cinematic grandness than their pedigree might predict.

Their fourth full-length outing, Human Voicing, does an effective job of avoiding contemporary musical tropes that frequently get dismissed as “overproduced” or “generic.” Tracks are often slow and plodding, with only spare moments of melodic clarity. Rarely, if ever, does electronic affectation or deep reverb inject anything inorganic to its atmosphere. The Luyas efforts at creating a meditative record seem to come more from jazz than from rock or pop. Pretty guitar and violin lines are smartly obscured by layers of instrumentation, often organs or mid-range synths. Instead of reaching into chamber pop, the arrangements stay hazy, often anchored only by a bassline or keyboard drone, and singer-instrumentalist Jessie Stein’s breathy vocal.

The Luyas do more with less, and Human Voicing is a clearly constructed and restrained release. While it sinks far enough into the mid-range to be murky and contemplative, it bursts out often enough to keep itself interesting.

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