When I prepare myself to review an album, I like to play it in the car as soon as I receive it, and spin it to death until I feel like throwing out the window. Then, I forget about it for a while more (about a week or so) until I need to put something on paper about it, and play it at home as I write. If the album is any good, I’ll find myself greeting it like an old friend, wondering why the hell I had put this away for so long, and positive writing ensues. Here//There, the third release from ILAD of Richmond, Va. has been hibernating under dust sheet in my currently mid-renovation home for two weeks, and I can assure you once this review is done it will be restored back into the car for regular rotation. It’s been way too long.
As genres go I’m at a loss, I’ll throw jazz out there for Here//There‘s bass and percussion tendencies, and I’ll throw alt-Country and blues into the mix for the guitar stylings on tracks like “Mexico,” “Black Gold” and “I Just Stopped By,” which together make up a delightful trio, before the diversion into electronic/jazz on “Wish for a Flood” and “Lou Dobbs.” It’s a killer first half of an album, save for the heavy sounding “Magazine,” which, in spite of its lack of melody, still manages to fit in with the brilliant tracks that surround it.
Here//There may have left me at a loss as to how to categorize it, but that’s not to say it’s a random mish-mash of styles, it’s actually quite cohesive sounding. I put this down to the cool vibe these four guys create throughout the album, and the fact that it feels like a real band affair, the band members all playing in harmony despite their diverse musical backgrounds such as electronica & salsa. “Extraordinary Machine,” after a hypnotic, gentle start, turns itself into an early ’80s lounge funk masterpiece. You will not want this track to stop, but at least we get five minutes of its genius. If this isn’t enough, its competitor for the album’s best song, “Everybody” is right behind it.
What is crucial to Here//There‘s magic is that even when it is not reaching the heights of “Extraordinary Machine” or “Everybody,” which is actually quite rare, it is still easy on the ear, and a perfect example as an album to both listen to intently and to simply have playing and creating a wonderful atmosphere while you do something else. I think I’ll go make myself a cup of tea and listen to it again.