Bringing a decade-and-a-half of silence to an end, Montreal-based quartet, LAE, release their official debut full-length release Break The Clasp, on November 25th via The Compound/Battleground.
Performing under their original name, LAE-TSEU, the band evolved out of the mid-‘90s post-rock/post-hardcore scene, seeking to distance themselves from the established conventions of rock music as well as the trappings of the various alternative subgenres. Not without irony, trace elements of many of those persist in their sound, itself a peculiarly familiar presence, as varied as it is satisfying. Nods to the likes of Three Mile Pilot, Swans, Sonic Youth, Unwound and Slint will surely not go unnoticed, but LAE’s total is far greater than the sum of its influences. Scathing, desperate and heartbreaking vocal sentiments set against richly layered backdrops, amplified and acoustic, melodic and deafening.
After earning a solid regional fanbase and foundation, the band split in 2001, without having released an official album. Their regional peer acts would go on to receive massive attention just after LAE’s premature and unexpected demise, and it would seem that the band had missed the boat completely as these other home-town acts entered the international spotlight. Perhaps this is their time.
In mid-2013, LAE’s current lineup — bassist, Ronald Jean-Gilles, drummer Serge Nakauchi Pelletier, and guitarists Stephane Desgroseilliers and Marc Lucas Ablasou — set out to record their debut LP, Break The Clasp, bringing their music from two decades ago to new life, completely re-envisioned with incredible musicianship and finesse. The band employed the talents of producer Steve Austin of Today Is The Day, flying him along with some major pieces of recording equipment from his Austin Enterprises out to Montreal for the recording sessions. Once the recording sessions were underway Austin instantly became intertwined in the recording process full-on, in the end supplying lead vocals to the entire LP.
What you get is an exciting array of musical experimentation seamlessly coalescing into a more than fifty-minute-long, hypnotically psychedelic yet anguished style of post-rock, LAE’s mammoth sound is incredibly beautiful yet inescapably depressing. It is also characterised by variety, the shifts in style, tone and atmosphere are impressive.
This is a captivating album echoing those progenitors of post-rock Slint, but also reflecting other bands from Montreal like God Speed and the other Constellation acts. Highly recommended.
Break The Clasp will finally see its long-awaited exposure to the world through a collaborative release between DIY labels The Compound and Battleground Records, on all digital formats as well as deluxe digitpak CD and deluxe 2xLP formats. The otherworldly cover art was crafted by LAE’s longtime colleague Sonny Kay.