Our Lost Infantry

Interregnum

Written by: TL on 28/08/2015 18:11:27

"Interregnum" is a word used to describe the period between the end of one ruler's reign and the beginning of another's. It seems doubtful that this holds any extra meaning for Aldershot quintet Our Lost Infantry, however. The band never quite took off following their 2012 debut "The New Art History", and they have now chosen to make their second album, "Interregnum", their last. And this makes a kind of sense as the band, despite their qualities, have had trouble on both albums, with finding a sound that would peg them as likely break-out candidates. Mixing catchy piano melodies with more dramatic post-rock instrumentation, the band has aimed for soaring, uplifting music on both records, yet in both cases, the production has lacked in power, and the singing - somewhat reminiscent of Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in tone - has been hit and miss. Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Thom Ashworth has the kind of high strung, life-or-death vocal delivery that sounds most fitting for musical theater or cinema, which is at times inspiring, yet at others makes your toes cringe.

A quick way to understand the predicament this presents the band would be to listen to track three, "Sagrada", and track one, "The Dry Salvages". The opener is a legit, wholesome and well-written track. Each part here is clearly defined and moves into the next one in a way that drags the listener with it, while Ashworth's singing is clear and showcases great diction, elevating his lyrics, which are considerably richer and more thought provoking than most bands'. Proceed to "Sagrada" however, and you'll hear some "Bohemian Rhapsody"-type silly vocal histrionics in the beginning, which start the track off on the wrong foot and makes you question if the band would not have been better off re-writing that part into something more within Ashworth's comfortable reach.

That being said, the first three tracks on "Interregnum" actually grow upon closer inspection, mainly because when you listen past the uneven production - where the pianos and synths routinely sound slightly cheap compared to the guitars - you notice that the band has done well at writing some detailed and enjoyable compositions. It makes you feel like the kind of thing you would enjoy reading if you could imagine music in your head while reading tabs for the songs. Regrettably, though, the album generally declines in quality right from the onset, and when a proggy guitar part comes in seemingly out of nowhere on "Lungs", it marks the beginning of a second half where things feel increasingly disconnected. The final three tracks, "The Enemy's Gate Is Down", "New World Time" and "Lazarus" in particular have too much filler around their best parts and thus feel overly long. Considering that this is half the album's running time we are talking about, it marks it as weaker than "The New Art History", which at least seemed consistently tight and catchy in its songwriting throughout.

Our Lost Infantry's swan song is thus a mixed experience, even more so when you also have to accept that there will be no improvement from here. Considering the creativity and diversity on display in both the compositions and the lyrics, you sort of wish that the band had gotten to a point where Ashworth could have reigned in some of that overly shrill falsetto of his, and where the lofty expression could have been afforded a properly bombastic production, but alas, it is not to be.

7

Download: The Dry Salvages, Aleph
For The Fans Of: Union Sound Set, Keane, Snow Patrol
Listen: facebook.com/ourlostinfantry

Release date 24.07.2015
Deep Elm Records

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