A Lull possesses the energy and rhythm to create powerful musical landscapes of pounding drums, morphing guitars, studio trickery, and pensive vocals, yet the band never loses its melodic center amid the cacophony. With percussion strongly taking the forefront and elements of shoegaze, psychedelia and traditional indie-rock underlying metaphoric lyrics, A Lull’s songs are a carefully orchestrated demonstration in the beauty of excess.

A Lull’s history began with an ending. After the split of Nigel Dennis and Todd Miller’s former band, the pair realized their desire to not only continue playing music, but to ultimately start anew with a fresh sound. After luring Mike Brown back home from Boston, they began dedicating themselves to a distinctive brand of sound-collage and songwriting. Soon Ashwin Deepankar and Aaron Vincel added their musical voices to the mix and the line-up was complete. Their 2009 EP, Ice Cream Bones was the first display of their quasi-folk, electronic leanings. With each member of the band being fascinated by drums and percussion, A Lull's sound has since solidified as something impossible to characterize.

Written and recorded in a year and a half, Confetti was not a simple feat. “When we started recording for Confetti,” says Todd, “we still weren’t sure what the thing was exactly going to sound like.” The recording process was both improvisational and meticulous, usually beginning with the members sitting around playing various patterns on their drums, eventually layering a bassline, and then more unconventional instruments. Todd describes these instruments thusly: “We pretty much used every single thing that we could get our hands on. If it was laying around our practice space, we used it. If we could afford it, we bought it.”

Accumulating at least 75 songs and partial song ideas, the band tweaked and reworked their music. They added vocals, harmonies, and layers of melodies while removing many of the acoustic guitars and keyboards that initially provided the songs’ foundations. By the end of the process, the band had molded a sound that has often confused those trying to find a reference point. Though elements of A Lull’s recordings remind of some much-loved indie acts (they’ve been compared with various levels of accuracy to everyone from Animal Collective to Sigur Ros), their sound is imbibed with a unique spirit that is their own.

A key to A Lull’s vision is the lyrical approach of vocalist Nigel Dennis. Reading the lyrics while listening to the album unleashes a torrent of imagery. Meanings are at once perfectly clear and beautifully vague. Repeat listens reveals lines that are memorable, surprising and baffling - while remaining straight forward and generally relatable. The multi-tracked vocals and harmonies seem to embed in the music more than ride on top of it.

A Lull’s approach led to a batch of songs that the band was thoroughly satisfied with. “The final version is actually the fourth version of that record,” Dennis admitted in a recent interview. “We wanted it to be right but we did kind of obsess over it, changing it constantly, trying to get it just perfect. We wanted our debut to be a strong statement.” Indeed, A Lull did so much editing and re-cutting in making Confetti that upon completion, they realized the album was 20 minutes too long. The batch of tracks eventually removed were just as impactful as anything on the album, but were cut because of song-length, album flow, and other factors outside of quality. With the outtakes being too strong to remain unreleased, the companion EP, Confetti Reprise was born.

The band’s live sound takes the same careful approach, albeit in a slightly different way. Surrounded by different kinds of drums on stage, each member of A Lull has his turn to bang on some type of percussion during at least one point of their set. Creating intense walls of sound, the band doesn’t just replicate their studio album but branches out from it. A Lull takes their soundscape to a new level, with beats that are just as impressive but with fewer instruments than the album. “There are some songs where we tracked 50 tracks of percussion and layered them. To see it come through live with only our drummer and realize it still has that same power, it’s very satisfying,” Dennis said.

In finishing Confetti and adapting it to a live setting, the band members have matured together and developed a sound that is as distinctive as it is open-ended.

Live photos courtesy of Cameron Brown (cameronbrown.ca).

A Lull - Confetti
A Lull - Confetti Reprise

Mush Records