Lymbyc Systym: Shutter Release (Mush)

As instrumental bands go, Lymbyc Systym is one of the more interesting ones. The band is just two brothers (originally from Tempe); their songs utilize countless sounds, samples and instruments; and each song moves with a melodic and rhythmic momentum that many instrumental bands lack. In other words, the songs captivate instead of falling into background noise.

On Shutter Release, Michael and Jared Bell blend their Sigur Rós and Explosions in the Sky influences even more adeptly than on past records; room-filling drums give way to microbeats, and dramatic guitar hooks give way to quieter and more contemplative synthesized melodies, often within the same song.

But it's really the samples and noninstrument sounds that give Shutter Release its texture. Seagulls mark a distinct change in construction on "Ghost Clock." On "Bedroom Anthem," the acoustic guitar and banjo are joined by a gurgling sound. On "Contemporary Art," the handclaps and other percussion meld into a very mechanical-sounding pulse. And at the end of "Late Night Classic" is a quiet sample of the automated male voice from a subway train saying, "Stand clear of the closing doors, please."

The whole album, really, feels like a series of openings and closings. The constant click-click-click of a camera shutter is a metaphor for how rhythms and melodies can be captured, shifted and changed.


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