Happening by Launder Album review by Greg Walker. The multi-artist's full length is now out via Ghostly and DSPs




John Cudlip and his band Launder, a rising star out of Los Angeles, is onto something. Harkening back to the days, when catharsis in music was key, he channels bands from the 90s, like Smashing Pumpkins (his vocals actually recall James Iha) and the Pixies (though the fairly simple guitar leads don’t match Joey Santiago’s genius, they evoke plenty of feeling). From the very first chords of the album, you know what school of rock that he went to and he approached the creation of this record, with all the fervor of a student in it to graduate with honors.

After becoming sober, before the recording of the album, he said that he poured all of his previously destructive energy into the sound construction of the record, finding the perfect attack and sustain with his guitar, paying close attention to “every buzz, hiss, and hum”. A shoe-gaze alternative rock sound, perfect for teaming up with famous producer Sonny DiPerri, who has worked with the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, and DIIV.

There is more to grab onto in the sound than the lyrics, though there is serious introspection and ambitious poetry throughout. “I know the changes that you make / Move slow, I don’t want to see you break,” he sings on the second song of the album, “Intake,” with it’s smatterings of post-punk. His soft voice is inviting, and his melodies are infectious. One song after another, draws you in with its alternative goodness, though at times it feels more derivative than completely original. Something you might forgive on such a stellar debut album as this one, for sure.

It is a long album at thirteen songs and one hour, and a few of the tracks might wisely have been left off, particularly “Beggar” which did not feel like it fit on the album. But these are the thirteen keepers out of sixty demo songs Cudlip came to the cutting board with, so it makes sense that it is a bit on the lengthy side, and 95% of the album is alternative silver or gold. The title of the album, Happening, is both poetic, a synonym, perhaps, for “living.” But it is also an ecstatic affirmation, that this is indeed happening. After hours and hours of writing and recording, the album is out into the world, and for sure will soundtrack the rest of the year for some people, especially those looking for a 90’s shoe gaze revival. It’s easier to pull off a single than a full album, but Launder manages to put together an impressive album of alternative hits.

Purchase Happening by Launder HERE


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