For all their synth-laden electronica and 80’s postpunk flavors, Rimini-based Italian band, Land, is not a retro act. They produce relevant, interesting and innovative records, which is proven on their latest EP release “Again”. Land do not simply write songs, they design music with sound and images in mind. Their use of sound is staggeringly elegant, yet rhythmic and powerful. They are continually looking for sounds to incorporate into their music, both adventurous and pleasing at the same time. What is fascinating about the band is their ability to layer fantastically subtle melodies over their musical backdrops. Throughout the album, Land come up with melodies that get stuck in your head and demand re-listening. This is quite a feat, given both the subject matter and the manner in which they choose to layer sounds.
Unconcerned with just rewriting the glory sounds of the 80’s, Land’s music on “Again” is instead a modern-day continuation of the classic sound begun decades ago. The EP opens with its pulsing title track, a tune so strong they kept the chorus almost instrumental. Just the right side of tragically-romantic, “Again” is a stand-out, with its strange cocktail of funky bass throb, stabbing synths, introspective lyrics and pop structure.
The highlight of the record. Five minutes and forty two seconds long, “Again” weaves its magic slowly and makes no apologies for being this captivating, knowing it deserves to be so. The vocal melody and delivery are gorgeously understated, in low soft tones.
Land transcend trends, they are never out because they are never in. They have created a musical identity occupied by very few others today – sublime machine-made music coupled with easygoing heart-felt vocals. It worked back in the 80’s for many musical legends, and it’s still working for Land now.
“Through These Cities (Daily Rework)” takes advantage of the muscular drumming which heightens the dramatic intensity of the track, while the band does a nice job of fusing the avant-garde noir sound design, with a pop-friendly structure and melody.
The spine-chilling, bass-heavy “Revealer” builds up the EP’s intensity as a prelude to the stellar rhythmic caress of “Again (Out of Control)”, while “Through These Cities (From Berlin)” showcases the band at its most soulful and lusciously sultry. “The Revealer (From Berlin)” is a constant evolving entity which still relies heavily on its bass motifs and arpeggiating synths.
“Again (I.T.L. Mix)” is a harder hitting sonic journey elevating the song towards dance-floor energy. Overall this collection of songs works on many levels – in their original formats, as well as their enriched and reworked versions. Making the EP an enjoyable and adventurous mix of synths and substance.
“Again” is new, it’s beautiful, inspiring, and engaging. It’s wonderful to discover that when you least expect it, a band like Land can deliver good synth-laden electronica tunes alongside more than a few sonic surprises. The coherence of the EP and the sequencing makes for a pleasurable listen.
I have these songs in my consciousness like companions already, so the writing has also hit its mark. All in all, this is a recording that can easily go up against the best of the contemporary Electronic artists currently around.