Twenty twenty one is the year that is going to be remembered for lots of reasons. Hopefully, it’s the year we get our lives back. Fingers crossed, it will also be the year that many, many incredible albums are going to be released, by some incredible bands, who have used COVID downtime to write, and create new works of art.
With all this excitement and anticipation, there is also a concern. What if these albums fall short, because the unity of working together has been absent, due to imposed distancing rules? What if, what we receive as music lovers, ends up feeling like the product of a stagnant and uninspired music world? Bands who have found it hard to keep focus, and have gotten too comfortable with the creature comforts, and have forgotten the want, and the urge to create?
Well, fear not, as coming out of the gates, strong as any thoroughbred stallion, comes Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel. With their incredible new release, Polaris, they prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that even killer viruses won’t keep them down. If this album is anything to go by, the worrying theories are all completely wrong.
Having been around for what must seem like two decades nearly, the band, are on the cusp on releasing their latest work, and it’s a belter, I can tell you that. Polaris sees them evolving again and coming back at us with something that’s equally as urgent, as it is considered. The French crew, now four albums in, show no signs of stopping, and this latest release really does show that even something as savage as a world class pandemic, won’t be slowing them any time soon.
Perching themselves on to a heavy rock, meets prog, and psychedelic branch, even this broad scope doesn’t really capture just how quirky the band are. I was reading online somewhere comparing LDDSM to Baroness jamming with Pink Floyd, but I don’t think that does the band justice. It’s easier to say that while they sound familiar to several other bands loosely, by the same token, they don’t sound like anyone else either. Strangely familiar, but at the same time, completely different.
It’s alt-rock, meets doom, meets prog, but in a way that really works…
After an ambient start, this rollercoaster really gets going. Track two, Blood-Planet Child builds on the opening ambience, and elevates it into a heavy burst of hard and abrasive post rock goodness. There are elements of electronica and heavy rock, with interludes of thunderous opulence.
Tracks three and four, Dark Matter, and Blue Giant, really catch my attention. Reminiscent of several American alt-rock bands, they are heavy, consistent, and vocally lavish. Somewhat anthemic in nature too, and whereas Dark Matter has heavy pounding moments, Blue Giant, by contrast, is slower, and more melancholy. Equally, both tracks are deserving of a maximum volume blast from the stereo.
Over the course of the following few tracks, LDDSM seem to skip through several different genre sounds. The Plague has a real prog feel, somewhat like a modern-day Rush, but with an alt-rock twist. Alpha Ursae Minoris hits with a grungy/electronica vibe, and Earthrise is dark and Sabbathy, with tons of slow, drudgy moments, guaranteed to hit the spot.
The Key pulls us back round to what LDDSM do best. With a clean vocal performance throughout from all parties, it has a ring of Thirty Seconds To Mars about it, from back when Thirty Seconds To Mars were really at their most vibrant. It certainly hits a nice plateau between emo and alt-rock, and is actually very listenable indeed. It has an intensity to it, but without being so much that its overpowering.
As we rumble on towards the last two tracks, the doomy side returns, and it slips back into that moodier feel. Darker in tone, with intoxicating dual vocal, Horizon is built for foot stomping, and head banging. It’s refreshing to have an album where the vocal is so clean, and on point these days, but then, does everything angsty need to be growly anyways?
The Great Filter concludes proceedings. If you were hoping on something a little less intense to bring you back down, you’re out of luck. After a relatively easy introduction, this one really ramps up on the emotion, complete with wailing guitar, and a ballady feel. It returns to that Thirty Seconds To Mars style, anthemic and air punching, before it crescendos eloquently into nothingness.
The beauty of this album is you can put it on, and it’s never too much. In the same way, it’s never underplayed either. It’s an extremely enjoyable listen, and even if you’ve spotted a name drop and convinced yourself that it’s not for you, give it a try anyway. It feels strangely familiar, but it’s also something completely new too. It’s alt-rock, meets doom, meets prog, but in a way that really works. Its engaging, and keeps you listening, right up to the very end.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish