Lydia
Assailants


3.0
good

Review

by Alex Silveri EMERITUS
July 21st, 2010 | 28 replies | 11,794 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Farewell, Beautiful.

There’s always been a certain sadness that has dogged Lydia through their short but gorgeous oeuvre of music. Whether it was Leighton Antelman’s sorrow soaked vocals or the atmospheric rippling of nostalgic melodies that made their records the perfect cry-into-your-pillow-it-will-be-okay material, the band have always had a penchant for pulling just the right heartstrings to make their audience feel. Feel what, exactly? Well, whatever really. And it’s this ‘whatever’, this ‘we don’t really have anything to say to you, but here’s some incredibly pretty music, so we sure hope you feel better now!’ that has been Lydia’s M.O. from day one.

And from that day, it’s been both their blessing and their curse. Their blessing, because scores of scorned lovers and romantic dreamers have been able to read into Lydia’s brand of layered indie-pop their own stories of woe and hope, inscribing and drawing from the music the reflection of their own emotional reveries and latching on to the band with ardent fervor. Their curse, because it’s just as easy not to give a damn. With this in mind, Assailants, their farewell EP, should be the perfect place for the band to finally deliver a vision for all their beauty and mark out an enduring testimony to leave behind. They almost do.

The title gives it away: “I can’t seem to kill my assailants/ they just keep changing faces” – it’s almost as if the band have finally marked out an enemy, coupled with a spirit to drive it away, the spirit that reared it’s powerful head time and time again on Illuminate, which promises to make itself shown here. But it doesn’t quite happen. Instead, we’re left wondering: who are those assailants and what have you done to make them so very angry? The point is not that Lydia actually needs to answer this stupid question, but that they need instead to direct all that raw power into something other than vague and stratospheric allusions to everything and anything endearing.

But to ease the trigger, Lydia will, if you let her, be your best friend. It may be easy not to give a damn, but if you want to, if you want to open yourself up to feel, to dream, Lydia will be there for you: songs like “Empty Out Your Stomach” and “I’ve Never Seen A Witch” drip with emotional sincerity, spiraling dizzy with the delicate sparkle of twinkling guitar lines and swaying melodies ready to be cuddled and held and postmarked with the label of ‘song-that-got-me-though-that-shitty-time-in-life-once’. And if you're lucky, it will. And like Illuminate, there are fleeting moments here an there which do in fact reach out from the depths: “Assailants” for one, at times even almost (but not quite!) threatens to cross over into epic territory of Arcade Fire-y grandiosity, soaring into a searing climax before pulling back and easing into a discordant, not-so-memorable close.

“Music Makers” too, shows off a subtle spark of experimentation, with twisted guitar lines buried underneath a spooky carnivalesqe melodies marking out one of the more interesting but short lived moments on Assailants. And here and there, lyrics will occasionally creep out through the haze of reverb laden atmosphere to crawl inside an unsuspecting head, before descending again into the sweet potpourri: “Of course you’re all crazy/ Everyone but me” croons Antelman in a sort of self conscious cloud of denial on “We Clean Up So Well”. Maybe it’s exactly that denial that’s the problem here.

Which brings us back to sadness. Maybe it was the haste of putting together a collection of tunes to see the band off, or the shock of Mindy White’s departure earlier in the year – but when all the psychoanalyzing wears off, the truth is that Lydia remain caught in the trap of the Beautiful Souls, too victimized to make a change, and too pure to even try. Instead, she’ll cry about it. Everyone knows a Lydia. She’s loved, adored, but in small doses. At twenty one minutes, Assailants is just that, and as sad as it may be, perhaps it was for the best. So glad you could make it to a farewell/ 'til we meet again, enjoy yourself.

2.9/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 21st 2010



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Bam.

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

themainmast
July 21st 2010



236 Comments


it's definitely a good album, just no where near as focused as illuminate. empty out your stomach and i've never seen a
witch are great songs, just not as good as songs like sleep well and stay awake. this is a great review, btw.

icaught fire444
July 21st 2010



622 Comments


I find this album exactly the same, but less memorable. Maybe it will grow on me, but nothing will ever top Illuminate. It changed my life, so them breaking up was for the better I think.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2010



9987 Comments


silveri EL FUEGO

BallsToTheWall
July 21st 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wasn't too keen on the last album but We Clean Up So Well is a great song.

AlexTM510
July 21st 2010



1396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You hit the nail on the head in this one Mr. Silveri-excellent review.

Lydia being one of my favorite bands-I was hoping for something a bit more memorable-but their just a bunch of songs. u seem to praise them more than you're actual rating. but stilll great review.



Digging: Daniel Blomquist - measureless oceans of space

ArmyOfRage
July 21st 2010



230 Comments


Cannot wait to hear this.

sexpoi
July 21st 2010



597 Comments


fuck they are breaking up? i love this band man, that sux. I'm totally checking this shit out though. Illuminate was an awesome album and im sure i will thoroughly enjoy this

BrahTheSunGod
July 21st 2010



1279 Comments


Great review. Damn. Will still check out though, Illuminate was good.

sniper
July 21st 2010



18578 Comments


Illuminate was very decent. I'll still check this out.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 21st 2010



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Alex, it's cause I sorta really like this band and I'm really sorta disappointed at the same time. I think like you said there was a always a sense of 'there's better to come' and instead we get this.

Douglas
July 21st 2010



8984 Comments


Nice write up, was hoping this would be good but no.

snerefedsav
July 22nd 2010



785 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

review was very well-written but it reads more like a 3.5. i completely agree with what you said though. i enjoyed the ep but it's not as good as illuminate. still sucks that they're breaking up though

a7c7e7
July 22nd 2010



36 Comments


thanks

BallsToTheWall
July 22nd 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Needs to be longer.

BrahTheSunGod
July 22nd 2010



1279 Comments


*insert obligatory sexual comment here

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2010



16071 Comments


this is blah. blah. blah.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

VicariousIntent
July 23rd 2010



1591 Comments


It really sucks that they're breaking up. Seeing them live is a real experience and Illuminate was a very solid record. Haven't listened to this yet though, and I want to.

Wildcatforever
July 23rd 2010



437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is for all intensive purposes good, but if I had to write a book on how NOT to follow a masterpiece and how NOT to end a career this would probably in chapter one.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2010



17911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

for all intensive purposes


love when people say this



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