#14: Lorelle Meets the Obsolete – “Balance”

Balance is a fitting name for a Lorelle Meets the Obsolete album, as the duo from Mexico is all about juggling various psychedelic influences, dropping them in a pot, and brewing up a sound that is both original and familiar. When I listened to this album, I felt like I was watching a beloved old movie that I barely remembered, and all of my favorite parts were coming back to me. “Oh yeah, the My Bloody Valentine part! I love this part!” Repeat for Stereolab, The United States of America, etc.

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete uses that nostalgia and familiarity to its advantage. The opening title track starts as a normal-sounding rock song, but then has a seemingly random synth part that initially sounds out of place, then a loud guitar part that comes out of nowhere. The band does that a lot, mixing in different styles of music to surprise any listener who is expecting them to paint by numbers.

Balance starts out with that style of noisy rock, but evolves partway through with some surprisingly affecting, almost ambient pieces. “Father’s Tears” is a minimalist folk-inspired tune that sounds like something from Tender Buttons era Broadcast.”The Sound of All Things” is a spacey song with a motorik beat that builds on itself for over five minutes before fading out with an emotional coda — it’s the best example of how this band assembles memorable songs from recycled parts.

 

#15: Kadhja Bonet – “The Visitor”

Kadhja Bonet has a soulful singing voice that sounds like it’s from the distant past. The rest of her debut album, The Visitor, is like from a semi-utopian future, with a vast array of instruments (many of them played by Bonet herself) forming colorful, psychedelic musical landscapes. The Visitor‘s retro-futuristic vibe reminds me of parts of Janelle Monae’s The Archandroid with its combination of classical soul and legitimate weirdness.

The Visitor doesn’t quite match that album’s ambition and sprawl; it clocks in at a short 27 minutes and mostly sticks to the same style of song, with cinematic orchestral productions backing Bonet’s unique voice. It’s all very smooth and pleasant to listen to, while also being inscrutable and strange — a small, intriguing work that feels like it’s setting the stage for something larger.