Lay Llamas - Ostro - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Lay Llamas - Ostro

by Jim Harris Rating:8 Release Date:2014-06-02

You know you’re in the hands of a great psych band when the first song is called ‘Ancient People of the Stars.’ You will find no Bob Dylan influence here. Lay Llamas, throughout their debut release, Ostro, sound like they’ve set the controls for the heart of the sun. There is enough repetition, blipping, thudding, and droning going on here to trigger a seizure. 

Lay Llamas, which translates as a wind passing from Africa to the Mediterranean (Or is that a fart? Regardless…), are from Italy and are billed as an Afrofunk space psych band. Really, Rocket Recordings? You honestly think billing this band as an Afrofunk space psych band is somehow a good thing? Try saying that three times quickly. Frankly, there is no funk in Lay Llamas. And isn’t Afro a hair style? How many more sub labels within sub labels are we going to generate in alternative music?   

Regardless, Lay Llamas have it going on Ostro. Most tracks are a special mix of slow-building, darkly drawn, echoey drones that often sound like an out of breath black hole with a heart murmur.  It is psych music at its finest. 

After the first space tune we get ‘We are You’, which is probably the best track and the closest this band comes to a pop song, with its catchy beat and hypnotic refrain. That is followed by the actual song ‘Lay Llamas’, which is a nicely repetitive up-tempo electronic track, before the album settles into series of disquieting exercises in minimalist psych excursions that will have you looking around for some pot.

The track ‘Desert of Lost Souls’, while as clichéd a title as you get, is a pleasant Middle Eastern influenced drone with some surprising Beatlesque vocals thrown in, leading to the stark pounding of a Hammond-like organ, which makes it one of the more interesting tracks on Ostro.

Lay Llamas are not afraid to mix it up with their psych concoctions. They use all sorts of instruments in addition to the standard ones to create the desired effect, and while they don’t really show great proficiency playing any of the instruments, the minimalist direction most of the tracks go in make it all work very well.

They also have probably the dumbest song title I’ve heard in a long time: 'In Search of Plants'. Come on now. On their follow up album are we going to get ‘Looking for Air’ and ‘The Quest for Dirt’? Actually, I hope so. It adds to the essential stoner influence most psych bands require.

The two Italian musicians which make up this band, Gioele Valenti and Nicola Giunta, have done a crack job on Ostro of quietly mixing certain pop sensibilities into the prerequisite repetition and droning to create a very well done Psych record. Ostro is a strong first effort from a band well worth listening to.

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