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  Pasages Through  
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When i first heard Landing, back on the Oceanless album, they were a band that crafted long wandering ambient psychedeleic tunes. The album after that explored more traditional pop song writing, as did their contribution to the New Found Land tryptych. And now, with Passages Through, the two sides of Landing learn to play nice together. This album takes their ambient psychedelic roots and blends it, seemlessly, with their light slowcore pop.

I admit, at first the mixture kind of threw me off. That is, my initial thought was "Dammit Landing! You can write some amazing pop tunes, but Album 88 won't play this in regular rotation because 3 minutes of pop are merged with 8 minutes of experimetnal drone, and the DJs at the station aren't talented enough to fade the song out after the pop part is done...". It felt as if Landing were, in a way, shooting themselves in the foot. Hold Me Under, most of Close Your Eyes, Slowly, and, well, all of the pop parts of the songs could make great radio fodder. These are catchy tunes, really lovely.

And the ambience that envelops the pop-ness is, well, perfect. It is well done, but does present a certain challenge for the College Radio employee....

Nonetheless, i am very impressed with this album. When i first listened to it, i thought it was well done, if oddly balanced. So i kept listening, and after 4 or 5 (or more) times, i realized that it is not that each pop song fades out into ambient drone, but rather that one, extended ambient drone occasionally swells up into light happy pop songs. The causality arrow goes the other way. Psychedelia is the logical precursor to pop: before something can be made catchy and comsumable by the masses, somebody has to just explore it -- map out the territory. Landing, well, they map out new space, but they also show what the implications are. That is the point of Passages Through. It describes what happens when you "pass through" a time of just exploring possibilities.

Whoa. I swear that i am sober as i write this. Really!

At any rate, this is an impressive album. A few points stand out from the overall drone that is Passages Through. Close Your Eyes, Slowly is a lovely tune of keyboard drone and Adrienne Snow's voice. It is light and hazy. Wrapped Up In Flight is an old folk tune -- Aaron Snow and Daron Gardner playing their guitars together, a complex intertwining of acoustic plucking. Nice enough i guess, and a little different for Landing. After the plucking and singing fades out, a low drone takes over for a moment, and then the two of them come back, this time with bass and electric guitar in the song To See You. The guitar here is playing some amazing chording. Eventually the chords fade back out into the drone. This is a simply lovely little tune, and To See You flows logically from the acousticality of Wrapped Up In Flight.

Drone and pop alternate for a while, until the great guitarwork of To See You is back on Tell Myself. This is another good male-vocaled pop tune. Keyboards burble under the guitar, which plays with an light, almost new wavey, distortion. The drumming is great jazzy tapping. Eventually Ms. Snow is singing harmony to her husband while Gardner sings, slightly off key, on the left channel in your headphone. This might very well be the busiest song on the album, yet it is very well done. Despite all that is going on in the tune, Landing's overall tone and mood is still relaxing and almost ambient.

To sum up: Landing have created a work that blends psychedlia and pop tunes into one ebbing and flowing whole. If you have liked their previous stuff, then you will like this. If you like either of the genres mentioned, then this is a good album to check out. I think it will appeal to you, and perhaps lead you into another realm of music.

Related Links:

Earlier this year landing contributed to the New Found Land tryptych.
Landing on tour for this album in November, 2003.


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