LNZNDRF, "LNZNDRF" (4AD)
Ben Lanz from the band Beirut and Scott and Bryan Devendorf from The National have combined to form LNZNDRF, a vowel-challenged side project with an eponymous first release.
The four instrumentals and four tracks with vocals on "LNZNDRF" were edited down from much longer jams recorded over two days in a Cincinnati church and the album gets off to a captivating start with "Future You." After some meandering, the instrumental finally gets going after two minutes, Lanz putting layers of short guitar phrases over insistent drums and buzzing bass from the Devendorf siblings.
A similar style follows on "Beneath The Black Sea," the best of the vocal tracks, which would have earned a place on those highly anticipated 4AD compilations from the 1980s, a handy opportunity to discover bands on the British label (Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, etc.) in the pre-Internet days.
The rest of the album is not nearly as strong. The other songs with lyrics don't feel fully developed, though "Monument" could improve live if its chugging train-like rhythm managed to get rolling.
The end comes with "Samarra," a repetitive instrumental which fades out noisily, tension building up without any release.
If LNZNDRF becomes more than just a one-off, they're going to need more judicious editing and better tunes. Or to stick to singles.