Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stars Of the Lid - Stars Of The Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline

Stars of the Lid
Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline
(04.2007, Kranky)
Verdict = More Sleepy Magnificence

I have neglected this release for far too long. Too be honest, I just think I wasn't ready for the undertaking that is involved with a double disc Stars of the Lid release. I mean, the albums predecessor, Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid was undoubtedly legendary, but it has taken most of the five year gap between that release and this to really come to terms with its achievements. I think the general reason for this is that as their previous record implies, it can be difficult to remain attentive during their entire set, let alone one disc of the two. While the drowsy affect of the music is almost expected from the composers, it is a doubly difficult and lengthy process to digest the whole thing. Procrastination catalyst numero dos: Stars of the Lid, while certainly inhabiting their own signature realm in the world of ambient drone, do not move quickly in anything they do which includes innovation. And Their Refinement of the Decline may as well be an additional two disc to the two already scored for Tired Sounds. There isn't a great heap of indicators from one album to the next that differentiate them. That said, I had become quite comfortable with the idea of retaining my listening achievement in understanding Tired Sounds and didn't have any premonitions to invite more Stars of the Lid into my already crowded musical life. Now, more than a half year after their release, the expected praise and inflated Metacritic scores have finally broken my will and here I am trying to sort through this endless ocean that is Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline. As previously stated, Stars of the Lid manufacture a signature sound, so signature in fact that the following descriptors could be interchangeable with most any SotL release. Refinement's sound hangs like a supernatural mist, organic and constantly flowing like an audible reflection the human spirit. SotL are more classically inclined than their contemporaries and have far fewer electronic tints to their work (if any at all). The compositions are meticulous and, as the album title suggests, downtrodden in their mopey drift. So here is the question, does the world really need an additional Stars of the Lid record? After hours and hours with Refinement, I am going to have to concede with an emphatic yes. Just as relevant and enrapturing as their past releases, just as emotive and just as gorgeous, but in the end, not an album with which you should ever have to say just. Magnificent; one of the best of 2007.

-Mr. Thistle

Stars of the Lid - Humectez La Mouture

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