I continue to have rather conflicted feelings about Lansing-Dreiden’s music. On the one hand, I love the Miami-based collective’s seamless and stylish blend of gloomy post-punk, early ’80s synth-pop, shoegazer, NY-style garage rock, glam rock, etc. On the other hand, the uber-pretentious prose and preening that they surround their work with — e.g., “All Lansing-Dreiden projects are fragmentary, mere stones in a path whose end lies in a space where the very definition of ‘path’ paths.” — continues to rub me wrong the way.
Of course, I realize Lansing-Dreiden aren’t the first musicians to use pretense and artifice, but there’s something so cold and calculating that makes their music, as lovely as it is, seem rather manufactured and factory-assembled.
However, one could argue, that many of the early synth-pop musicians, to whom Lansing-Dreiden clearly owe a stylistic debt, were attempting for the same tone for their music, to present their music as something made more by robotic hands than human ones. And so on it goes, and so I continue to be conflicted by their music.
All that being said, I think I listened to “A Line You Can Cross”, a preview track from Lansing-Dreiden’s upcoming full-length, The Dividing Island, at least six times in a row. And it’s not even one of the group’s best songs. It is, however, another skillful blend of cold, sweeping synth tones, spookily distant vocals (which are often heavily-affected by any number of synth patches), and incredibly catchy melodies. Which goes to show that you can probably know too much about a band, because if I knew nothing about Lansing-Dreiden’s pretense, I would probably like this track even more than I already do.
The Dividing Island will be released by Kemado Records on May 9, 2006.