Mexican duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete return with their fourth album, ‘Balance’, which is released on September 16 via Captcha Records and Sonic Cathedral. It goes so far beyond mere psychedelic rock as to defy categorisation. It’s a real step forward: nine songs of complex synthetic and analogue fusion recorded by the band at their home studio, before being mixed by Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas) at MINBAL in Chicago and mastered in Melbourne by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring).
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Following 2014’s critically acclaimed third album ‘Chambers’, which was followed by extensive tours of both the US and Europe, the duo of Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto González returned to their home city of Ensenada to relax and refine their sound. They recorded a cover of Spectres’ ‘The Sky Of All Places’ for ours and Howling Owl’s infamous ‘Record Store Day Is Dying’ single, and an amazing version of ‘Fourth Of July’ for a Galaxie 500 tribute album. Then they set about the new album.
“We were able to fully focus on the music,” explains Lorena. “Living in a quiet part of town and without a day job stealing energy from us, we had enough mental space to act merely as conductors or tools for the songs to unfold freely.”
“We had reached a good state of emotional and physical strength when we finally decided to record the new album,” continues Alberto. “It was an opportunity to set aside personal and general preoccupations in order to explore and enjoy every path the process of the album would take us down.”
And some of those paths are very interesting. The opener, and title track, blows away the layers of dusty psych from the previous album for a sparse and spare sound, embellished with new wave keyboards that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of the early Magazine albums; ‘The Sound Of All Things’ is a mini-epic, opening with a two-and-a-half-minute soundscape, before roaring into life; first single ‘La Distinción’ (available on streaming services now) is a driving drone-rocker, not dissimilar to the classic ‘What’s Holding You?’ from ‘Chambers’, but with the addition of a surprisingly soulful chorus and breakdown.
“Spanish and English are intertwined in most of the lyrics and song titles and the album title also works the same way in both languages,” says Alberto, as he explains how the album really does live up to its title. “In fact, there’s some kind of duality throughout the album. Most of the songs are second versions of the original idea. Like refuting arguments in a dialogue.”
He goes on to point out the songs ‘Waves Over Shadows’ and ‘Waves Under Shadows’ – both of which have the same discordant motifs and sounds repeating and twisting themselves inside out – as the most obvious example of this. Alberto says that the inspiration for this wasn’t necessarily a musical one, but something more Lynchian: “In some song structures we also experimented with reverse as a backbone element, similar to The Man From Another Place character in ‘Twin Peaks’.”
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete count Robert Smith, Mani and Sonic Boom among their fans, but the most enthusiastic is Henry Rollins. Here’s what he said about ‘Balance’: “To put on the dreaded critic’s cap for just a moment, ‘Balance’ lives up to its name by achieving a balance between fuzz and clarity, nuance and throttle. The mix, which is incredible, utilises the brilliance of the component parts of each song, with a subtlety and dexterity that is not nearly as frequent in the albums that came before. It feels more like there was such an accumulation of captured dreams and their interpretation, that eventually it filled an album.”
He’s right, too. With their fourth album, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete have found the perfect ‘Balance’.
Tour dates will be announced soon, but the band will be playing at Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia on Friday, September 23.