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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Artist of the Day: Lymbyc Systym

Yeah, I'm totally sorry. Today's Artist of the Day post is going to be more like 250 words of bragging. Because electronic-pop-rock hybrid Lymbyc Systym (it's a mouthful, but it's as close to an accurate description as you'll get in this write-up) is one of my favorite bands of all-time, and I got to go see them in Korea last Saturday. AND THEY WERE AWESOME.

But here we go.

The first thing you'll notice when you listen to a Lymbyc Systym song is how gorgeous the melodies are: there's a lucid beauty to each and every track in their discography that's almost sobering. Perhaps no track of the band's exemplifies this better than "Bedroom Anthem", a three-minute flipbook running the spectrum from tender nostalgia to crushing orgasm: are the trumpets at the end blasting in joy or sorrow? Does it even matter when they sound this galvanizing?

The second thing you'll notice when you listen to a Lymbyc Systym song is how well-constructed it is: real-life brothers Jared and Michael Bell share a wonderful chemistry that spills right on over into the music. In general, one brother plays the melodies while the other crafts the rhythms driving the track forward, but more often than not, the boundaries between melody and rhythm blur, as they do on the jubilant "Prairie School," which owes just as much to the plinking synth in the background as it does to its straightforward but gracefully delicate drum beats. The resulting concoction sounds like a boxing glove full of Pop Rocks and Lime Mountain Dew being smashed into your face--and you will love it, damn it.

Playing the band's discography in order, I'm intrigued by how well-matched Lymbyc Systym's evolution is to the integration of post-rock music into other genres. Their first full-length release, Love Your Abuser, was for the most part a straightforward release, post-rock with tinges of electronica and hip-hop (courtesy of Michael Bell's bombastic, dynamic drumming). Something changed between that release and their sophomore release, Shutter Release, though: conventional soft-then-LOUD structures gave way to hazy walls of sound, art-rock by way of pop music, and even folk-style introspection. They were free from the shackles of being just a post-rock band, and what a good thing for the rest of us.

The band's latest, Symbolyst, is just the latest step of its systematic assault on music: it sounds as if the Bell brothers wrote ten 20-minute opuses just to cram each and every one into four-minute bites of ear candy. It's a perfect reminder that music can be cerebral and innovative--but more importantly, it can be intuitive, sweeping, and fun.

You can check out Lymbyc Systym at their official website or their Facebook page.

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