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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Gregor Samsa
55:12
The Kora Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


April 5, 2006
With the recent release of the Cocteau Twins' Lullabies to Violaine, there seems no better time to reflect on how uniquely perfect they were in forging a new sound. Perhaps it's listening to "Pepperment Pig" that has this on my mind, but Gregor Samsa create similarly stunning, dense dream pop more than twenty years after the release of Treasure. Reminiscent of the Cocteaus as well as His Name is Alive, Mazzy Star and the Sundays, 55:12 is an immense, ethereal triumph.

Weighty layers submerge miniscule harmonies on the opening "Makeshift Shelters," but its placement feels important when realizing that the beautifully heavy burden will be lifted on "Even Numbers," allowing us all to feel Gregor Samsa's ability to leap and soar. Indeed, the second cut begins with crashing, epic proportions before lowering to a simple, disconcerting pulse and finally rising once more to tower over adversity. It is one of 55:12's best cuts as it shows what the band is able to do to its audience by masterfully controlling the magic they've created.

On many tracks, like "What I Can Manage," a naturally poignant piano rolls dutifully, keeping one foot in reality; everything else from glances to wings is in the supernatural. Broad views and lofty vocals are inspiring and stirring throughout, and when the group sounds most like Sigur Rós, the palpable lamentation found in the inflection of their voices strikes the heart in new ways. As in "Even Numbers," when the closing "Lessening" manifests, we are cornered by Gregor Samsa's every sensitive movement. We feel the loss, the hope, the lovers' certainty, all through their ability to make us empathize. Like the Cocteau Twins, Gregor Samsa enwrap us in a world we long to understand and can't help but be enthralled by; their command over such wonderful territory allows them free reign on our emotions and aspirations. 55:12 is an inspired record of newly discovered dreams.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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