5 out of 5
Label: Bad Taste
Produced by: Logh and John Congleton
As many of us from a certain era likely have, I’ve heard my share of post-rock Radiohead-affected groups: combining a swoozy, generally more streamlined version of the band’s OK Computer-era shimmer with a vocalist who leans into thoughtful lyrics with a Thom Yorke-y croon. I haven’t heard many bands of that type who can easily segue into punky hardcore, with a singer (Mattias Friberg) who suddenly screams with equal intensity to his singing. I mean, bands have done it, sure, but few or as organic or convincing as Logh; the group would go on to have a Hydra Head album, for goodness’ sake, which doesn’t make them Botch or anything but is still notable. More important to making this work, though, is that Logh’s cohesiveness as a band quickly moves them out of the range of surface comparisons: as soon as the main melody of opener The Contractor and the Assassin picks up, with co-producer John Congleton capturing the group’s immediacy with warmth and a pumping low-end, you’re quite swept up in a sound that feels familiar but tweaked, made edgier, made more ominous. Layers of drumming, precise but minimal guitars and keys; the songs are sequenced perfectly to keep the listener in the zone, trading the shoegaze crawl of a full band for more stripped down pieces which center on Friberg and a guitar, and then we’ll shift way upward for some spots of distortion, spots of brightness. Every “typical” moment – a twangy tune that seems a little simple – will take a slight turn, adding some wrinkle that, again, makes the song Logh’s own.
The Raging Sun is easy to set in a pile of glossy post-rock at a cursory listen, but give it one full song and you’re likely to give it two, and the give it one more to try to zero in on the group’s “it” factor. But the factor isn’t so qualifiable for a reason: when you pursue it, you end up coming across like many of those sound-alikes still sitting in that pile, with their Sonic Youth and Radiohead and etc. references. Not that Logh didn’t surely work hard to establish their vibe, but the album envelopes its listener without hints of that sense of dedication – it feels natural; the songs grow from pleasant melodies into earworms in an instant, given ultimate production depth and an ebb-and-flow album structure that pushes and pulls its listener into states of calm, with gentle tinkling of guitar and keys, then amps them up a song later with blazing yowls and riffage.