Review: Lore City ‘Participation Mystique’

Tonight, I’m sitting here typing up my review of the new album by Lore City, entitled Participation Mystique, and the most overwhelming word that comes to mind is ‘unexpected’. Unexpected, because what I imagined I was getting, based on the keyword’s ‘shoegaze’ and ‘dark wave’, was something somewhere within the realms of Slow Crush and My Bloody Valentine. What I was actually witness to was somewhat closer in tone, to trippy ambience, and hypnotic chanting.

Lore City ‘Participation Mystique’

There are moments where it sounds like a very stripped back, Puma Rosa, and even elements of Warpaint too, which is no bad thing in my book. After the initial play through, I stepped back, and did a little investigating in to the band, and just what they are all about, before playing the album again.

It turns out that Lore City were formed in two thousand and eleven, and is actually a duo, made up of Laura Mariposa Williams, and Eric Angelo Bessel. Both had previously attended the same college, in the early two thousands, before reconnecting a few years later, to form Lore City. Jump forward to twenty twenty-one, and the band have just released their fourth album, Participation Mystique, a nine-track trip into a world of dark ambience, and hypnotic spiritual chanting.

Over the course of the nine tracks, the running theme seems to be one of a calm, meditative state, where if you slip under the spell, you will be taken away to another realm completely. Right from the opening bars of the albums first track And Tomorrow, to closer Elapse, the sultry ambience flows like the gentle ebb or a stream, running through a green meadow. Sombre rhythmic pounding, and sultry chanted vocals give the whole affair an air of mystery, and in turn, a somewhat eastern feel.

I’m particularly taken with track three, I Know You Know. As it plays through, with its feel of the dark orient, and the vocal runs seductively across the sonic blanket, the repeated line ‘I know you know’ interjects at exact moments, to add another mysterious level. On first listen it seems to be somewhat disjointed in the mix, but with every repeated listen, it becomes clear on the timing, just when to expect it, and I get a little tingle of joy every time I hear it.

Each track is so lovingly put together, it works as a whole, to take you away to another dimension…

This doesn’t mean that I’m not taken by the rest of the album, I am, in fact I think it’s an incredible work of art. Each track is so lovingly put together, it works as a whole, to take you away to another dimension, if you allow yourself to sit back and take it all in.

Track eight, Original Feeling, is a particular spot on the album where you need to give yourself to it completely. When it started, I closed my eyes, let it embrace me completely, and the feeling of euphoria was incredible. At this point I would like to state that I was stone cold sober, and completely ‘compos mentis’, but the experience itself carried me off into a complete dream state.

Its hard to fully put into words just how this work will make you feel, I think everyone who listens to it will get a completely different experience, so hopefully you will forgive me if you do take the time to check out this album, and receive a different outcome. Honestly, the best way to listen to it is either through headphones, or at an appropriate level, to truly hear all of the elements, and preferably in a darkened room, with no distractions. It’s an album to turn off your phone, the TV, everything, and fully submerge yourself because you won’t be disappointed.

It isn’t for your average hardened death metal fan, but if you seek something with enlightenment that whisks you away, Lore City‘s Participation Mystique should definitely be on your list to check out. It might blow your mind, it might not, but one thing is for sure, you’ll be able to acknowledge its depth, its scope, and its heart. By disregarding what usually floats your boat musically, should be the very reason as to what you’re seeking when taking a chance on new adventures in music.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Official | Bandcamp | Twitter

Scribed by: Lee Beamish