Review Summary: Some of the most eerily beautiful and dynamically pleasing post-rock you're ever likely to hear.
World's End Girlfriend are a complete anomaly in the post-rock scene. The creator, Katsuhiko Maeda, lets all the traditional characteristics of the genre dissolve in his music, instead relying on creating his own brand of emotionally charged and electronically varied music define itself. Gone are the classic guitar arpeggio's that have become synonymous with the genre, so too the generic build-up to climax formula that plagues so many releases. There are no vocals, but emotional speaking samples are present in several places, giving the record a haunting and unique atmosphere. Orchestral and classical elements go hand in hand with electronic, and the result is one of extremely paradoxical but genuinely exciting success.
Indeed, this is post-rock like no other.
There are a huge variety of instruments in The Lie Lay Land, from your typical and expected guitars and keyboards to less traditional instruments like trumpets, violins, flutes and other classical instruments. These don't come in separately, instead sharing the stage in a puzzling and impressive way. The Lie Lay Land isn't traditionally beautiful, the melodies are often strange and haunting, and the constant array of different sounds and instruments can be daunting and overwhelming, but it is always breathtakingly pretty and pleasing in a bizarre way. Being pretty doesn't necessarily mean having a 'happy' atmosphere though, as is shown throughout the release where the mood changes to sometimes frightening, other times fearful and tense. It's a wonderfully varied and very pleasing way of keeping the entire album fresh throughout. Certain aspects of the sound can be likened to more traditional bands in the genre, like the opening of the simply enormous 'Scorpius Circus', but it is made so different by the inclusion of different electronic sounds and other instruments that it is barely recognisable to any other band in the genre.
Surrounding the entire record is a haunting ambience that refuses to let go of its grip on the quieter moments. The entirety of 'Song Cemetery' is amazingly simple and subdued, with an ambient backdrop being coupled with slow, rhythmic sounds and beautifully pretty singing from a young and quiet voice. Although remarkably simple and unchallenging, the song is incredibly easy to lose yourself in, and throughout the entirety of its three-and-a-half minute length you are completely sucked in. The song itself is quiet and almost threatens to be scarily distant, but ends up being so involving and atmospheric that it builds up the next song almost unbearably. The following track, 'Give Me Shadow, Put on My Crown' simply builds and builds upon what 'Song Cemetry' had created with more quiet distant singing and more startlingly beautiful ambience – but is coupled by an increasingly tense and explosive aura, which gets exploited with several explosions of sounds and climaxes within its beastly length. When a final climax in the song comes, something that the last fifteen minutes of music had been hinting at, it simply explodes, before the song itself finishes quietly, once again beginning to recreate the atmosphere and ambience.
Unlike most post-rock, a key strength of The Lie Lay Land is its variety, both instrumentally and dynamically. Whereas the aforementioned 'Song Cemetry'/'Give Me Shadow' combination built itself upon layers and layers of increasingly tense and almost eventually choking ambience, the oddly titled 'We Are The Massacre' is instead uplifting and glorious, with flutes and chimes throughout. Although they sound like polar opposites, it is nonetheless a familiar atmosphere and sound thanks to Katsuhiko Maeda craft and vision. His ability to blend electronics and orchestral themes together in such a way makes the sound instantly recognisable, which coupled with the haunting children's voices and whispers throughout the album make every song a similar but all together completely different journey into a twisted and beautiful place.
At nearly eighty minutes long, The Lie Lay Land is a monumental album. Filled with ambience, narrated throughout by eerily beautiful and somewhat haunting whispers from children, amazingly textured with many layers of paradoxical but stunning sounds, The Lie Lay Land is the realisation of something utterly startling and brilliantly personal. With such a unique sound all that World's End Girlfriend needed was a concept and an execution, The Lie Lay Land is conceptually brilliant and executed to perfection. If you've ever had a intensely long dream that shifts throughout a million different moods and feelings, then you've already come some way to knowing what this might sound like like.