Review : Lodger - Flashbacks
PopmattersSometimes the best way to convey the most sincere feelings is to show that you don’t take them—or yourself—too seriously. It’s a lesson that the Lodger’s most obvious influences, like Belle and Sebastian and the Housemartins, have taught, and something that the promising Leeds band is still trying to get the hang of on its third album, Flashbacks. So even as they recall the twee aesthetic of the Pastels and Heavenly, just with a little more polish, band leader Ben Siddall and company still have work to do on striking the right tone and flashing just enough sense of humor to fit into a tradition they’re clearly trying to carry on.
But finding that sweet spot is no mean task, so being a bit off shouldn’t take away from the many things to like about the group. What the Lodger has going for it is an appealing combination of indie instincts and musical proficiency, matching the warm, fuzzy feel of cardigan pop with a little chamber rock sophistication, though never going too far in either direction. There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia to Flashbacks, but it’s less a derivative sort of hearkening back than an attempt to reinvent a subgenre based on such simple elements you’d think there was little to build on....full text
AustintownhallLeeds’ band The Lodger have released two albums to date, those being filled with angular guitar knives and steady drum beats. Not keen to repeat themselves, the band changed it all a bit for their new album Flashbacks. While it certainly retains a certain sense of familiarity for fans of the group, you’ll find a bit more exploration in regards to the overall sound of the band.
With the band’s first single “Back of My Mind” you get the sense that singer Ben Sidall is, as usual, always contemplating the state of his relationships, or his life as he states “I fall to the ground and say/I’m lost in the back of my mind.” Thematically, there’s a bit of stasis here, but the song itself is about as dense a song as the group has writtern; it’s as if the song is wearing some sort of grey (not gray since they’re British) sweater. All in all, it’s a step to the side of minimalist pop, keeping the band’s personas while searching for new ground....full text
ImposemagazineBy Anthony Mark Happel » The Lodger, who hail from Leeds, England (a city of about 700,000 that is also home to The Mekons, Gang of Four, Soft Cell, Sisters of Mercy, Utah Saints, Kaiser Chiefs, Edsel Auctioneer and others too numerous to name) is actually three guys named Ben, Joe and Bruce, who are joined by several friends on their third album. Singer and songwriter Ben Siddall wrote and arranged all the songs, but bassist Joe Margetts and drummer Bruce Renshaw’s contributions make this a real band.
The first song, “The Back of My Mind,” is a quick-time quasi-skiffle beat tune that feels tossed off like a silly introductory track. It’s on the second song, “Have a Little Faith in People,” that Siddall begins to show himself as a better than average songwriter. It’s the most sophisticated song on the album, in a pop sense, and it’s as strong as something one might encounter on side two of a Belle & Sebastian album. Siddall should write more songs like this, as the saying goes.
There is an Orange Juice/Aztec Camera aspect to some of this, in a rather vague, general sense, but it’s hard to get around those two bands completely when you play music like this, and it’s present in subtle ways. At least they show off a few of the better bits. Of course, that road wends its way back to The Kinks, eventually, and there’s some of that in there too. They lose their way at about the mid-point, and things get too soft and gooey in places. The horns on “Stand Up!” seem gratuitous, and fully illustrate how much they don’t need them in the context in which they operate. ...full text
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