Lau “Ghosts”

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Record Review: Lau’s “Midnight And Closedown” 

Melody, poetry, emotion and memory weave in and out like stories. Midnight And Closedown is the next chapter in Lau’s fascinating story.

AMartin Green says, Lau are a triangle, and a triangle is a powerful shape. What Lau achieve when they come together under the rule of three always seems to harness the best of that creative power, and their 2019 album, Midnight And Closedown (released on 8th February), is no exception. Recorded in just a week, but written during a year in which politics has more directly affected our daily thoughts than ever before. Produced byJohn Parish, the man in the chair for PJ Harvey’s Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake, and This Is The Kit’s beautifully ramshackle Moonshine and Freeze, in a reversal of their usual methods, Lau wrote and recorded Midnight and Closedown before presenting it, in its entirety, to live audiences in November and December last year. The album takes its title from a line in Seamus Heaney’s Glanmore Sonnets and has been described variously as a Brexit album, more akin to late-period Beatles than folk, and even as a hint at a final fling. The first, I’m happy to accept; as for those other assertions, let’s see…

As the album opens there’s certainly a hint of melancholy in Kris Drever’s vocal for I Don’t Want to Die Here. It’s offset, though, by Aidan O’Rourke’s shimmering strings and a sense of locomotion in the rhythm. The lyrical content will undergo more scrutiny than can be offered here, but ‘Slick cobbled stones reflecting seventies festoons / our drunken county rallies round ideas like sad balloons’ certainly support Aidan’s description of the album’s themes… “The vehemence of opinion. The shoutiness. The rise of the right. The allure of brashness in politics…The sense that our collective future is hazy.” Continue reading