Review Summary: It's all fun and games
Have you ever listened to an album just because you know it’s going to be a fun listen and pretty much for nothing else" Disregarding everything except for the bopping and grooving amount of enjoyment you know you’ll probably acquire from listening to it" Well…Lotus’ Build
is a probably the perfect example of this.
For those unfamiliar with Lotus’ discography, they just make really heavily electronic based instrumental jam rock or some might call it “jamtronica” (a genre that also gives homage to artists like Holy Fu
ck as well) and for the type of music they make, they do it extremely well. The style of jamtronica depends on coming up with musical ideas on the spot with random ideas being placed into a song. Their 2005 album Nomad
was the first to infiltrate our heads with their quirky electro jams. Scattered with droning repetitive drum beats, mindless but emotional guitar passages and solos and were surrounded by quirky and rambunctious synths of all types of different sounds. Songs like ‘Suitcases’ and ‘Greet the Mind’ were fun and funky jams for the sake of “coming down” after a hard day all uptight and they’ve continued these funky, viscous jams on their later albums as well.
So should Lotus continue this sound on their newest album Build
" Should they give homage to their predecessors" Or did they do something different" Well it seems they’ve taken a step back and created shorter song lengths and much more filler then necessary. One big thing that really changed about this group is that there are a lot more electro influenced songs on here. Most of the songs on here have this overly poppy and glazed approached unlike their previous work that was more colorful and aesthetically pleasing, kind of similar to the band Pretty Lights. Of course there are songs like ‘Middle Road’, ‘Kodiak’ and ‘Cutinuo’ that are reminiscent 80’s smooth jazz and funk artists and are just a ton of fun to listen to, but other songs like ‘What Did I Do Wrong’, ‘Uffi’ and ‘Massif’ come off as mundane and seem to be somewhat weak representations of their earlier work. Another problem with the album is that a lot of these songs sound rushed and some come off sounding pretty identical to one another. An example of this would be how tracks 5-8 are all in the key of G minor. If the band took a bit of time to see what kind of sound they were putting out, maybe they would create something that more people wouldn’t be able to tell apart from one another. For every strong song on this album there is a weak clone waiting right around the corner, but I digress for now.
If one were to disregard a lot about production, quality and musical composition and comparison to previous works in general, listening to this album as a no-brainer is a real attractive, groovy and fun endeavor. A big example of this would be the transition between the tracks ‘Neon Tubes Part 1’ & ‘2’. ‘Neon Tubes Part 2’ is actually a very fitting name for a song like this with its very techno/trance influenced sound, giving a visualization of travelling through a neon tube. It also sounds as if it should be in a game made by Sega. I can picture Aiai from the Gamecube game “Super Monkey Ball” trying to get through a really difficult level on the Amusement Park option. Pretty much everything about the track ‘Middle Road’ is extremely delectable with its funky, groovy drum beat, melodious vocal sample, guitar solos, bass and jazz organ, and it remains as probably the strongest song on the album. However, the problems are pretty evident and it just doesn’t live up to their earlier more ambitious endeavors. It’s a great and very fun album to listen to if you’re in the mood for some funky groovy tunes, but that’s about it. Don’t expect too much from this, just sit back and relax and enjoy a blast from the past. Lotus’ Build
might take you there.