Band Name: Lafayette
Album Name: Transformations
Best Element: Sweeping, careening, beautiful post-rock that seems to make time stand still
In this perpetually busy world, music that makes the flow of time unimportant is very important music. Lafayette’s Transformations is, by that logic, very important music.
Having seen what Lafayette can do live, I’m not surprised to hear that the sweeping, careening post-rock they create translates magnificently to CD. Like many post-rock bands, they build from small beginnings (a drum line, a melody, a synthesizer burble) towards giant slabs of noise; but unlike many post-rock bands, they do it with a profoundly optimistic bent. While there is the occasional remorseful tune on this 7-song album (“Rest These Tired Hands”), most tunes suck the listener in by being the aural equivalent of a warm blanket. This is perfectly displayed on “A New Life,” where the blocky guitar chords and snappy drum-beat give way to beautifully cascading, lithe guitar work that makes me sit back and sigh a happy sigh.
That beautiful, cascading guitar work dominates “Zzyzx,” making it easily one of the highlights on the album. In addition to the beautiful melodies and tight interactions between various guitar parts, the drums add a lot of mood here; perfectly recorded, they create a epic, powerful mood without ever overpowering the sound. The drums, as well as every other instrument, are given room to breathe in this mix – no part covers the other. It’s an extremely well-produced album, and instead of production stifling or changing the sound, it brings out all the best in Lafayette.
The variety of sounds employed here is also impressive. “Series Fruition” is mostly synths, while “Fireflys” is drums/guitar/bass, proving that Lafayette is equally adept on both mediums but dependent on neither. This makes songs that deliberately incorporate both sounds very thought-provoking, as the listener has to think why a certain sound was chosen when it could just as easily been done a different way. Why is the beat in “Series Fruition” electronic instead of organic? It’s a question to ponder
Transformations is an album that can be deeply enjoyed on many levels. You can sit back and chill out to it very easily; the optimistic, warm-blanket feel ensures that. The bombastic drums and snappy rhythms definitely lend themselves to driving music, as well. Yet the album also stands up to those who would deconstruct the sound and think about all the inner workings. It’s post-rock of the highest order. Lafayette has a gift for creating music that is accessible yet still credible; enjoyable, yet talented; hooky, yet clever.