|Let's get one thing out of the way first. When I hear music along the lines of Boards of Canada, I can't help but get my hopes up. I think, "Could this album be another Music Has The Right To Children or Geogaddi?" After a few years of hoping, I should know better. Something ineffable and organic and affecting suffuses those records in a way that probably can't be fairly replicated.
That said, albums like Lymbyc Systym's Love Your Abuser do a decent, if not inspiring, job of using electronics to create human music. Lymbyc Systym consists of brothers Jared and Michael Bell and its instrumental music varies from unassuming background melody to quiet grandeur. "Truth Skull" falls more into the former slot, with its early layers of thick chords and slow pace. The drums and drum programming (sometimes it's hard to tell the difference) build some tension halfway through but that tensions resolves itself fairly quickly as the song moves back into the peaceful territory it came from. Its successor "Pittsburgh Left" continues from there. Its vibrato keyboard notes hum melodically in front of a Philip Glass background. On this and other tracks, Michael's acoustic drums work nicely against the otherwise silicon sounds. "Rest Easy/Age Kindly" has a wide-open feel to it. It's cinematic, but it's too short. Just as the sweeping chorus of chords gives onto a pretty melody and bongo-like backing, the song ends. The M83-like "Love Your Abuser" again goes for a Glass-inspired repetitive loop for most of its duration, but the song takes a turn for something more Amon Tobin as it closes out. Or maybe it's more Tortoise than Amon Tobin. The distorted drums and vibraphone-sounding notes would sound at home on either of those artists discs. In the last 20 seconds the drums kick in wildly and briefly, unexpectedly, too, as the song is just winding down. It's a nice touch. Active drums form the basis of "Fall Bicycle." Organic and electronic beats both keep the song moving along. The odd rhythm of the keyboards that accompanies the electronic-beat section of the song adds a welcome bit of intrigue. It's a short passage, and it might have been cool to have heard that passage developed into its own song. Love Your Abuser shows some creativity. While not as epic as M83 or as sublime as Manitoba, it shows potential for greater things. I'll be waiting for the next release to see how the band develops its sound. - Delusions of Adequacy