In the Leap Year
Lauren K Newman (AKA LKN) is cut from the same dark shroud as the late Unwound’s unhinged midnight noise or early Sonic Youth’s industrial alleyways. In the Leap Year embodies the effects-heavy guitar experimentalism of LKN’s forerunners, but she adds a decidedly jazzy context for her noodlings, making her ripe for comparisons to Tara Jane O’Neill’s upstart post-rock outfit Rodan.
The central problem with this album is its girth. LKN’s fifteen songs — over an hour of music — are hard to differentiate once she’s established her angular/dissonant/abrasive vs. her elliptical/subtle archetype. That said, there are quite a few quality songs here, like the dual ice flow of “To Stay in the Same Place” and “Bleak, Ruined Choir of Me” and the piano and chime laden “Such is My Love For You.” The hardest song to take is the chaotic 10-minute epic “Sarah, I Love You,” which seemingly only exists to revisit and rehash all the previous discordant notes that never really went away over the course of the album. By placing this song as the penultimate track, LKN shows she needs to exercise the most restraint when choosing the amount of material for her albums. Maybe next time.
Greyday Productions: www.greydayproductions.com