Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action At A Distance

Artist: Lotus Plaza
Album: Spooky Action At A Distance
Label: Kranky
Rating: 8.3

If I wanted to be concise, I would call the new Lotus Plaza album “pleasant”. It is, I’m not kidding. But it’s more, too.So much music depends on the mood you’re in. On my first listen of Spooky Action At A Distance, I was ready for an album that I could put on and let it wash over me. It’s not that I wanted to ignore it, or wanted an album I could put on to fall asleep to, I just needed something comforting. My familiarity with the Kranky label doesn’t go far beyond my adoration for artists like Stars of the Lid and Greg Davis, and I always forget that they have regular old rock bands on the roster too. They’re almost always great. This Lotus Plaza record is great. I’m even willing to ignore the ritardando beat at the end of the first proper song.

I’m not a production nerd. I love scuzzy lo-fi bands, and I could frankly give two shits what kind of software you used to “master” your record. (Is “mastering” still a thing? That’s not even a real thing, is it? This whole “mastering” gag is totally something musician thinks they’re in on… so fake…) But for once… I really appreciate the gloss on this album.The drums sound full, the guitar effects sound warm and crisp. I don’t know, they just did a nice job and took a lot of time and money to make this record sound slick, and this kind of music admittedly deserves this level of production. I think leaving it hairier would have been a disservice to the songs.

“Jet Out Of The Tundra” utilizes repetition beautifully. This feels like a really classic album. A better Atlas Sound; sorry about the unnecessary comparison, but it’s a reference point. A lot of the songs are long, but none of them are boring. Quite a feat. The album ends on a really good streak. The last third of the songs are the album’s most gorgeous. I love that. Too often, artists front-load the record with what are obviously the shiniest tunes, and it’s always so pleasing to me to find the final track to be something more than a coda. Doesn’t it rule when the last track is the best song of the album? It rules.

by Will Anderson

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