|“You know why they’re good? Because they’re brothers – they understand each other, man…” Thus began a conversation I once had with a friend about brother-bands. And, although he was referring to the Bee Gees (seriously), upon listening to instrumental post-rock band Lymbyc Systym’s new album Shutter Release, I finally know what that guy was blathering about. Lymbyc Systym consists of Jared and Mike Bell, two brothers from Arizona, but from the way Shutter Release sounds, you’d swear the band couldn’t possibly be just a duo. I haven’t heard such a grandiose sounding record all year, yet I also haven’t heard such an elegant one.|
The thumping drumbeat backed by droning guitar and bouncy synth of the album’s opener “Trichromatic” sets a mood for the entire record. Although the tracks vary, from the gorgeous, expansive landscape of “Interiors” to the fast, loud, horn section of the album’s title track, there is a feeling present in every song that forms Shutter Release into one distinct, cohesive wave of sound. The band’s instrumental post-rock sound is comparable to that of bands like Explosions in the Sky; in fact, one could say that the whole album sounds as if they added synth and a tinge of happiness to The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. Lymbyc Systym uses the same sort of minimalist-to-epic climax approach that has become commonplace in the post-rock scene; but at the same time, they have found a way to twist that norm and make it their own. This is in part due to the band’s masterful use of electronics on Shutter Release. It is heavy in synthesizer, blips, boops, white noise, and drum machine, but these elements are used in the most tasteful of ways. They are simple, subtle layers and textures accentuating the brilliant lead guitars (both acoustic and electric) and drums that make up the majority of the record’s sound. The band seems to perfectly understand the less-is-more philosophy and uses it to maximum effect.
Shutter Release is not perfect. It has a couple of sore-thumb tracks (namely the quick, chirpy “T-Ball”), which are not bad, necessarily, but don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the album. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Shutter Release is one of the most surprising albums I’ve heard all year, not to mention one of the best. - The Wake