LASTELLE is an Atmospheric Post-Hardcore band hailing from Oxfordshire. With comparisons being drawn to the likes of Devil Sold His Soul, Casey, Underoath, Being As An Ocean, and The Elijah; LASTELLE produce music that blends the power and hooks of Post-Hardcore with the dense soundscapes and textures of Post-Rock. Coping Without A Cure will be LASTELLE’s new single which will be released on 7th August 2020.
Not for the first time in our Why I Love feature, a band has joined us in this column and wanted to share their love of the mighty Sigur Rós. The Blackheart Orchestra also wrote for us about why they loved the music of the Icelandic geniuses.
Jonjo Williams and Freddie Whatmore of LASTELLE both write for us about why they love Sigur Rós.
There are a few artists I could talk about for a while when it comes to what has influenced my music taste and song writing. Bands such as Underoath, Caspian, La Dispute are to name a few, but I’ve chosen to talk about Sigur Rós.
I feel they’ve had such an influence on not just us as a band, but a whole genre of music, paving the way for many bands that have appeared since.
I’m a huge fan of Post-Rock, and Sigur Rós are definitely a band that have earned the right as one of the pioneers of genre and, in doing that, becoming one of its biggest names. I started listening to similar bands probably around 10 years ago and have found myself falling more and more in love with it as time goes by.
The expansive soundscapes that bands within the genre are known for is one of the things that captivated me the most; you’ll find more familiar song structures abandoned, replaced with long building passages where layers and layers are added to fill out space. he songs rely heavily on shifts in dynamics instead of more traditional verses and choruses.
A lot of bands in the genre still rely heavily on the instrumentation and textures of rock music, guitars, drums and vocals just used in a different context. Sigur Rós seem to focus heavily on other sounds not usually associated with rock genres. I’ve always loved how heavily orchestral and electronic elements are woven in amongst the drums and guitars, while their frontman’s use of vocals is as more of an instrument, instead the central, focal point of the music that is common with rock music.
One of their stand out albums for me personally would be their 2012 album Valtari. This album is more constantly focused on strings, piano, and atmospheric vocals than a lot of their other releases. In fact, I have no idea what a lot of the sounds in the album even are in some cases. For example, on the album’s 4th track “Rembihnutur”, as the track reaches its climax towards the end, there are a lot of percussive layers added in alongside the drums which almost sound like squeaking doors and drawers being shut. I just love that approach of thinking of what “sound” would work here instead of what “instrument”. They strip back everything to the concept that music is just organised noises.
Fred (bass/backing vocals) in our band shares a very similar view of the band and we’ve both come to love them for an almost pure state of zen that their music can put you in.
The first Sigur Rós album I remember listening to was “()”. I had heard a few tracks from the band, but this was my first time I actually absorbed what it was the band were trying to do. The record flows pretty much start to finish, making it feel like a 72 minute long singular piece, but there’s this separation between tracks #4 & #5 where the whole thing takes a really sombre turn. Track #8 repeats a load of themes and melodies from #7, but in a more positive soundscape. This rounds off the whole record and brings it back to where it began.
The thing that really stood out for me when I first heard this, was that I’d rarely heard a band convey this much emotion and paint such a detailed picture. To tell such a rich story without using a language I understood – the album I have since discovered is sung in Volenska, which isn’t even a real language but one the band created to express sounds without words – is so special. One member of our band, once somewhat tongue-in-cheek described this kind of music. “It’s not music, it’s more of a feeling” – which, when you say it out loud, is comical and a little pretentious, although it is absolutely true.
Genuinely, Sigur Rós’ approach to music as raw noise is really amazing, and I love all of their records. Their 2018 release, Route One, is much more experimental in it’s concept and design as it is sections from a 24 hour long piece that was created by procedure and chance. This represents one of my favourite things about this band; they are always pushing boundaries and trying new things, but they always want to deliver something interesting and innovative to the world. I think the atmospheric textures of LASTELLE will always be a nod to this band, whatever direction we choose to go next.
LASTELLE will release their new single, Coping Without A Cure, on 7th August. In the meantime, check out the bands single/video for Bluebells which was released in 2019.