Record review: The Laurels – Plains (2012, LP)

Having taken almost five years to arrive, this debut album from Sydney four-piece The Laurels invites a level of scrutiny that only such a heightened sense of anticipation can bring, but thankfully it emerges triumphant, showcasing a band who now have a killer long-player to go with their well-established live reputation. Packed with their trademark mix of scuzzy shoegaze and dark psychedelia, Plains sees The Laurels continue the form of 2011’s Mesozoic EP release, but with greater intricacy and a broader sonic palette. The band decamped to the New South Wales countryside to complete recording with Belles Will Ring’s Liam Judson on production duties, and all that fresh air and open space must have worked wonders. Opener and lead single ‘Tidal Wave’ is a six-minute atmospheric wall of sound that washes over you as the name might suggest, before ‘Changing the Timeline’ brings the creepiness and ‘Traversing the Universe’ ups the psych. ‘Manic Saturday’ is a superbly-spluttering stream of lo-fi scuzz coupled with cheerful guitar riffs, while ‘Mesozoic’ is loose and dreamy. Closer ‘A Rival’ sounds like it could be a reprise of the opening track, making sure Plains finishes on a momentous and well-rounded high. Support slots in July with Band of Skulls and a headlining national tour in August will be the perfect place to hear the new songs from this excellent debut album. Just don’t leave it so long until the next one please guys. (Rice is Nice)

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