Lark's Tongue - Eleusis

18 Feb 2022 - Knut

Progressive Rock/Psychedelic Rock/Shoegaze | Consouling Sounds | Release date: 18 Feb 2022

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With an album title referencing the ancient Greek mysteries of Eleusis invoking Demeter and her daughter Persephone, and a band name derived from one of the giants of progressive music, Lark’s Tongue conjure up fascinating sonics. Their sound is an amalgam of progressive rock, heavy metal, psychedelic rock and shoegaze that sometimes glistens in its cascading heaviness, lifted by the ever-present gliding organ-like synths, and driven forward by an inventive rhythm section.

It seems like Lark’s Tongue, in a way, have tip-toed onto the music scene since the band’s inception in 2010. Two years later, they released a two-song EP which was followed first by a split with Men of Fortune later that year, and a split with Across Tundras in 2013 before releasing their first full-length in 2014. And now, eight years later, they release another genuine full-length during which they have honed their unique musical style. It might be quite a few years since their last, but some of the band members also had to perform their duties in other bands such as Minsk and Men of Fortune. And they probably have day jobs too.

The first song, ”Arborist”, introduces their distinct style when two guitars start the song using the lower-pitched strings, the bass drives the sonics forward with the help of the always-present, energetic drums. The soundscape creates a heavy distorted glissando impression that often will surface throughout this album and lends a laidback mood. A mood that sometimes is typical for psychedelic rock and also for shoegaze. The relaxed and strong vocals just add to this impression with the synth supporting the heavy guitars as they slowly drive the song forward, sometimes on low-pitched strings, other times so heavy it feels like it is cascading towards your eardrums.

Guitars playing the lower-pitched strings offer a long introduction to the next song, ”A Common Denial”. This could easily turn out to be boring and repetitive, but not when Lark’s Tongue does it. The music has many layers with echo effects that create a depth, but also with the bass and drums that slowly pull the guitars toward a heavier soundscape before the vocal emerges, carried by the ever-changing guitars in the background and the bass-licks. When the synths rise and make the music “wavey” it is like the spirit of Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep is soaring over the soundscape, even though the end is a cascade of distorted guitars, heavier then Uriah Heep ever were or are.

The next song, ”Elucidate”, is quite intriguing even if it is the shortest one on the album. First there is a section with a catchy vocal and guitar melody you might want to dance to. Then the vocalist sings “We glanced at the face of despair, in mirrors’ glare, to the end” and the transition of the sonics into a section with heavy distorted guitars playing fast and at the end they crumble into their own effects.

The fourth song ”Folly of Fantasy”also has a frenzied closing as it ends in heavy statics with the words ”Solipsistic tomes, fantasizing lies/ Oh for idol’s sake, let worship die”. Before that, the eight-minute song, as the others, is dominated by heavy guitars, dark solos, groovy bass and quite energetic drumming driving us through melodic themes. The glissando impression might be strongest on the next song ”The Novelty Wears Thin”, a diverse song starting out with heavy guitar with wah-wah-effects sounding as if it is flowing towards an engaging melodic theme that makes this song quite unforgettable. Like King Crimson’s ”Starless,” which lingers forever.

The title of the last song ”Obsolescence” is quite contradictory if one just looks at the title of this fast, driven - and at the same time versatile - song that gets pretty wild before quieting down to the summer sounds of crickets and birds. This band and the music it plays is far from obsolete - it is fresh, modern and extremely well composed and executed.

With this album they have developed psychedelic rock, progressive rock or however further into today’s diverse music scene, while at the same time make no secrets of their inspiration from the giants of the 70s. The band’s name is a give-away of course, but throughout the album one hears echoes of Hawkwind, Yes, Gong, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd, to name a few. But, also more contemporary bands like U.S. Christmas. It is like the band has taken their influences through a shoegaze blender and created their distinctive style with both quiet parts and torrents of heavy onslaughts. It is a remarkable accomplishment.