Album Review

Lau – Live Series 1.0: EP Review

Going right back to their roots, Messrs Drever, O’Rourke and Green strip Lau back to what many believe they do best with some unplugged recordings.

Release Date: 31st July 2020

Label: Reveal Records

Formats : CD / DL

Lau may have set their stall out as a groundbreaking and experimental folk trio, their songs and tunes peppered with electronics, sound FX and traditional instruments.

They’ve recently released an ‘unplugged’ album featuring much of their Midnight And Closedown album. And that’s following a tour where their vast ‘We Love The NHS’ sign (before it became fashionable) and similarly vast array of gadgetry gave way to three chairs around a single microphone. Probably how they began back in 2007.

The new EP was recorded in January 2020 at London’s Kings Place by sound engineer Tim Matthew. It captures Lau live at the start of their 2020 Unplugged Tour (now set to continue in 2021. It also features a collaboration with Chris Watson (founding member of Cabaret Voltaire and now one of the worlds leading recordists of wildlife and natural phenomena) on Gallowhill where the field recordings of birds and waves set an evocative atmosphere.

Despite the unplugged billing, we can’t escape the industrial sounds, often likened to a ventilator, that introduces and provides pause points in far From Portland. The familiar calm after the threat of a storm. That industrial ambience and eventual (and apt) rhythm, picked up by the fiddle, also play their part in Death Of The Dining Car.

While Kris Drever’s I Don’t Want To Die Here finds the trio heading more into song territory, the highlight comes with the final piece. Lord Yester from the Evergreen EP with Karine Polwartcomes over as a gently crafted lament cum lullaby (sans Karine) with the closing swells of restrained power. Telling of the plight of women coming to terms with overs lost in battle be it Flodden or in the Holy Wars; missions to fish at Galilee or find the Holy Grail, it’s stately and strangely inspirational.

Another little treasure to savour from the Lau phenomonen.

Listen to an unplugged I Don’t Want To Die Here:

Lau online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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