Laura
Radio Swan is Down


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
October 6th, 2006 | 39 replies | 15,204 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Melbourne post-rock six piece Laura have created an album that is incredibly diverse and varied, yet wonderfully structured and cohesive. Employing a wide range of textures and instruments, Laura have created one of the best post-rock releases of 2006.

Radio Swan is Down is the second release from Melbourne post-rock band Laura. The first band to sign to Australia's Alone Again record label, Laura have been playing together since 2001. Though their following is small, they have gained the loyal support of a number of fans in their hometown and across Australia.

Laura
Nathan Biggin - piano, synth, guitars, noises
Andrew Chalmers - guitars, voice, noises
David Gagliardi - drums, glockenspiel, percussion, voice, noises
Carolyn Gannell - cello
Andrew Yardley - bass, sampler, noises
Ben Yardley - guitars, noises

Hailing from Melbourne, Laura are one of the few Australian post-rock bands who play in a style that can be easily compared to contemporaries such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Explosions in the Sky. On first examination, their music sounds like the midpoint of those two bands. Closer examination, however, reveals a greater depth to Laura's music and a much broader range of sounds. Laura employ a wide range of instruments on Radio Swan is Down; guitars, synthesisers, samplers, strings, male and female vocals, brass and various percussion instruments all make welcome appearances throughout the record. Released just over a year after their full-length debut, Radio Swan is Down is the conclusion of an enormous amount of work in a small amount of time. Radio Swan is Down is an intense album that deals with a number of different emotional states; depression, paranoia and joy all seem to be fairly strong themes throughout the album.

The strongest point of Radio Swan is Down is, undoubtedly, the fact that there is just so much in it. The album goes through many different emotions and musical ideas in just one hour, perhaps unsurprising considering that all of the music written for this album originally clocked in at 200 minutes. It is incredibly rare for an album to have so much diversity yet be so cohesive, but Radio Swan is Down achieves this and then some; when playing the album all the way through, its 11 tracks meld together to make the album feel like one long song that takes the listener on a rich and detailed journey. That's not to say that the songs don't stand up by themselves, because the majority of the album's tracks are certainly wonderful songs in their own right. 'Every Light', the album's single, runs for just under 4 minutes and is quite possibly one of the most uplifting songs released this year. 'I Hope' and 'Patterns Not People' feature some amazing male vocal work while 'Cambridge Bypass' starts as an ambient piece before mutating into a very full song.

Though Laura are quite obviously talented musicians, their real strength lies
in their songwriting. Their ability to incorporate such a wide variety of sounds, textures and emotions into an album while keeping it cohesive is matched by very few bands. Radio Swan is Down is unique, in that every song is very different from the one before it, yet the songs seamlessly blend together to create a whole. In this way, it is entirely possible to listen to the album many times and still not grasp everything that is happening in the songs. In the realm of post-rock, this is certainly one of the best releases of the year.

Pros
Diverse
Cohesive
Fantastic songwriting and musicianship

Cons
One or two boring sections
Difficult to become familiar with

Recommended Tracks
Is There No Help For The Widow's Son?
Numbers Stations
Every Light
Patterns Not People

Final Rating: 4/5



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user ratings (68)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
October 6th 2006



3243 Comments


Good stuff.

livinginafantasy
October 6th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

heard of this band a few times now.
i must investigate asap.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
October 6th 2006



1588 Comments


Sounds like an interesting band and album.

I'll have to check it out sometime, even if they are Aussies. :pThis Message Edited On 10.06.06

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 6th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you look on their myspace, they have a blog entry with a link to a free live track. It's not one of the songs from here, but it is one of the best songs I've heard.

www.myspace.com/lauranoise

Two-Headed Boy
October 6th 2006



4527 Comments


Sounds great.

The Jungler
October 6th 2006



4827 Comments


Cool review, these guys seem kind of cool, I'll probably listen to the single, but there's way more Post Rock for me to get into before this.

La Revolucion
October 6th 2006



1060 Comments


Great review. A lot of post rock is dull to me, but I'll look in to this eventually.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 7th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've added mp3 links for "Every Light" and "Ariadne" (two of their very best songs) for anyone who is interested.

Zmev
October 8th 2006



983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^ How do you do that? Can anyone do it or do they have to be all 1337-like?

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 8th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anyone can do it. Go to the band page and click "Add MP3 Link" on the left.

Zmev
October 8th 2006



983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh..it has to be from a site... = /

Thanks anyway, I'm just waiting for the last track of this to download then I'll say what I think.

Zmev
October 8th 2006



983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This stuff is pretty good.

livinginafantasy
October 9th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i have every light, ariadne, and widow's son.
and each song is completely different from the other.
its incredible.
i cannot wait to see them on friday.

livinginafantasy
October 9th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

saturday... not friday.
not that it has relevance to anyone.This Message Edited On 10.09.06

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 9th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm hoping to get down to Byron to see them in a couple of weeks. I have to find someone who wants to drive down there.

mx
Moderator
October 10th 2006



733 Comments


'Every Light', from the preview is absolutely amazing

AlienEater
October 10th 2006



716 Comments


Sounds pretty damn cool.

livinginafantasy
October 15th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

br3ad, make it happen cos these guys are the sh** live.
absolutely blew me away last night.
they took me places.
dont miss it!

ett
February 5th 2007



3 Comments


really good, one of the best releases in 2006, maybe too long a bit, but still great

PeEpHoLe_10
October 21st 2007



31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album....the first 2 songs are just brilliant.



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