Laura – Twelve Hundred Times
Describe a man, put him in a tree, rescue him from the tree. Short film/story writing 101. It works musically as well, either as a song, a long composition or as a record. And this is the basic structure of ‘Twelve Hundred Times’, except that Melbourne five-piece Laura put a man in space, let you think he will be rescued, then see him drift from your fingertips into the void. If this record was a movie, it would probably be ‘Silent Running’.
Timed bang on 44 minutes, the record contains eleven songs ranging from a minute to seven minutes. However, so complete is the record, that you lose all sense of the length of each song. What you feel instead is a huge ocean wave that slowly lifts you high before dropping you into its trough.
It’s clear from listening to Laura’s third record that it took a long time to write and lay down. What is astonishing is that it wasn’t written from the outset as a complete work, instead coming together from a variety methods before being moulded in the studio.
The attention to detail in ‘Twelve Hundred Times’ is mindblowing. Not one millisecond of sound is wasted, overused or out of place. It’s as though Laura are saying; “OK, you’ve heard that sound. That was for that moment and if you want hear it again, play the whole record again.” It is lean, and deliberately so.
Think industrial, post-rock, folk, indie rock, drone, post-metal, trip-hop – it’s all in there somewhere, but it’s not an attempt to cram what styles you can on an album. More simply I would describe it as counterpoint of vocals and strings against a series of walls of noise. Or most simply; perfect.
When we first hear singing, in the opening track ‘Visitor’, it’s muted and distant. It’s a call for help amid the noise and harshness of guitar and synth. In ‘This Grey Earth’ we are closer. We can hear the vocals more clearly, so mellow and calm, surrounded by stabs of sharp painful noise.
‘Gravity Hill’ is the first joiner track and we are introduced to cello playing over static, before we move to ‘Mark of the Day’. We are now close enough to hear the singer’s emotions. It’s not mournful, self-pittying or lamenting, it’s not depressing, melancholic or miserable, this song is absolute and utter despair, and if you can find a more beautiful song released this year, please let me know.
Then Laura throws us a lifeline. The upbeat ‘Glint’ is the rescue plan, fingers touch and our hero is safe! Until contact is abruptly lost, that is, and slowly he drifts off through each successive track. In the closing minutes, puffs of static remind me of the flashes of light from the manoeuvring rockets on a spacecraft. But they are not sending help closer.
I listened to this record eight times yesterday. Headphones, speakers, and at midnight alone on a Victorian country road on the vast Western Plains. I didn’t forward a single track, and I felt goosebumps at the same point each time. I can’t remember when music last did this to me.
Released October 14 2011 throughBandcamp
Echo Rating (((●●●●•)))
Posted by Gilbert Potts
Tags: Bandcamp, Gilbert Potts, Laura, Twelve Hundred Times