“a superb example of their sonic evolution…Luke O’Farrell and Piers Cornelius encapsulate the controlled aggression and moody intent of this simmering, ambitious album from a special band” – Rolling Stone ★★★★
“Hit And Miss’ by The Laurels is def a hit” – Oyster Magazine
”Probably the best live band in Sydney…. What The Laurels are doing is special. There’s no better way to express it'” – The Music
“The Laurels are one of the most compelling bands around.” – The Age
The Laurels are a four-piece from Sydney who create luscious, complex and dangerous psychedelic shoegaze bliss.
It’s been four years since The Laurels released their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Plains’ and many wondered if they’d ever hear from the band again. Their social media accounts were blanketed with questions about the whereabouts of new material and band members were regularly interrogated by drunken concert attendees, culminating in numerous requests to “stop fucking around and release something!”
So what have The Laurels been doing in that time and why has it taken so long for something new to surface? The relentless touring that followed the release of ‘Plains’ saw the band pushing the limits of what they could achieve as a live band and yearning for a new approach in the studio. Growing particularly fond of golden age hip hop and with classic albums from GZA, Nas and Gang Starr dominating the touring van’s stereo, the rawness and grittiness of hip hop production felt new and inspiring to a band that had become renowned for their lush sonic textures.
‘Sonicology’, The Laurels second record out now.
The first taste came in the form of ‘Reentry’, then ‘Hit And Miss’. ‘Hit And Miss’ is described by the band –
“It’s a a song about the stigma surrounding mental illness and the struggle that sufferers face when trying to convey their feelings to others. There’s a tendency to label someone selfish when they resort to drastic measures like suicide without fully being able to comprehend the inner working of the brain, it’s not simply a matter of thinking yourself out of these situations when you’re dealing with a severe chemical imbalance. Educating people about the disease is the key to breaking those stereotypes. The sunny harmonies and poppy chord changes mask the dark lyrics much like those dealing with depression put on a facade to hide their feelings from the people they fear will judge them. Where the warbled synthesiser, warped vinyl samples and booming 808 kicks and claps help give the guitar laden track a hip hop edge.”
Final single to be lifted is the title track ‘Sonicology’. The single comes with an exception video directed by Aimee-Lee X. Curran.
‘Reentry’ was written and recorded whilst camped out on a friends lounge room floor during the Blue Mountains bush fires of 2013. Forced to leave behind all valuables except for instruments and with the sky glowing red as they loaded up the car, The Laurels aimed to cause some explosions of their own when they reentered the city.
Written with the express intention of being the first song on the album, it functions similar to how a hype man in a rap crew would (something The Laurels lack as they are not a rap group and usually quite modest). Pumping up the bands own tyres, declaring their mission statement, calling out world leaders with the wrong priorities whilst referencing cool things such as monks, enlightenment and the Philadelphia Experiment for extra street cred. ‘Reentry’ also expresses the bands dissatisfaction at always being lumped in with one genre of music.
Aiming to break free of the musical tags usually leveled at them, the band recruited Drew Houston of Sydney sewer jazz collective Wild Cat Falling on saxophone to wail over the band’s signature twin guitar attack bringing a whole new dimension to their sound. Line up changes saw Kate Wilson depart and Jasper Fenton join and SPOD got behind the desk and mixed the record. Distorted synthesizers puncture the mix while heavenly church bells ring out over the building cacophony.
Contrary to popular belief, The Laurels have not spent the past four years sitting in their lounge room punching cones. They’ve overcome adversity (and hundreds of annoying questions) to craft an eclectic collection of music which they are thrilled to share with you.
It’s a band loudly broadcasting their return across the airwaves – tune into their frequency!
Sonicology Track List –
3. Clear Eyes
4. Some Other Time
5. Trip Sitter
8. Hit and Miss
9. Central Premonition Registry
11. Zodiac K
LIMITED EDITION WBYK PRINT WITH PRE-ORDERS.
Following the release of their highly acclaimed debut EP Mesozoic last year they were nominated for ‘Best New Talent’ in The Age EG Awards, were finalists in the ‘Best Live Music Act’ in the FBi SMAC Awards and came in at #4 in the Mess + Noise Readers Poll for ‘Best Live Act’.
Known for their mind-blowing live show, The Laurels have shared stages and tours with the likes of The Black Angels, Wooden Ships, Swervedriver, Low, Tame Impala, Dead Meadow and A Place To Bury Strangers to name but a few. They have played Boogie Fest, Sydney Festival and BIGSOUND, and singer/guitarist Luke O’Farrell and drummer Kate Wilson graced the stage of the Sydney Opera House earlier this year as part of Nick Zinner’s very special 41 Strings project.
Some years in the making, The Laurels’ debut album Plains was almost washed away in a flash flood during its final stages of completion. Save for the heroics of producer Liam Judson wading across a raging causeway clad only in his underpants and holding the master tapes high above his head, it may never have seen the light of day.
Through years of touring and shows with the likes of The Black Angels, Wooden Shjips, Swervedriver, Low and Tame Impala, The Laurels have developed a solid reputation as one of the country’s best live bands. In 2011 they were nominated as Best Live Music Act in the SMAC Awards (Sydney Music, Arts & Culture Awards), Best New Talent in the AGE EG Awards and made it to #4 in the Best Live Band category of the Mess + Noise Readers Poll.
Whilst notoriety as a floppy haired sonic assault machine was flattering, it felt incomplete to the band, and instilled the desire to showcase their songs as they were meant to be heard. Although The Laurels gave new meaning to the words ‘highly anticipated album’, Plains is the album they had been wanting to make for years.
Over the album’s 10 songs, dual guitarists and vocalists Piers Cornelius and Luke O’Farrell distort, wind and loop their formidable guitar sounds around the driving bass of Conor Hannan and unwavering drums of Kate Wilson, highlighting both the depth and the breadth of The Laurels’ songwriting.
THE LAURELS – PLAINS
02. Changing The Timeline
03. Traversing The Universe
04. This City Is Coming Down
06. Manic Saturday
08. One Step Forward (Two Steps Back)
09. Sway Me Down Gently
10. A Rival