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Laura – Yes Maybe No

Melbourne instrumentalists Laura return with a new EP out on US label Elevation. Yes Maybe No brings about a more refined and slimlined version of the band, opening with the upbeat riffage of Bobik is in Amerika – an in-joke relating to the whereabouts of Russian dog ‘Bobik’ who was being ‘trained’ for his mission to be the first dog in space before going missing the day before the launch. All in all there are six tracks here on Yes Maybe No – Three songs separated by Z.I.B. 1, 2 and 3 – Sonic collages connecting all sound into an aural whole. The EP brings a sense of playfulness back into the sound after the rather dark and menacing second album that was Radio Swan Is Down. Yes Maybe No presents us with a Laura that sounds like they’re really enjoying themselves. This is most evident in the closing moments of the track Cardboard Cut-out Robot Victim Hero Children, a manic crescendo with recurring guitar motif that introduces itself briefly, fading those drums away in a wash of synth, before returning harder, faster, belting out its closing bars. I feel like I’m on the set of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, being attacked by a large flock of birds. Cinematic doesn’t cover it.

Laura appear to be facing two directions here. One is to head off in a more experimental role, playing with sounds, atmospheres, constructing moods. The other is the more straight ahead clear cut instrumental rock number, which opening track Bobik is in Amerika is, without a doubt. Bobik is all about the riff. They tread both paths with equal aptitude, and I’m quite fond of the progression in sequencing on the EP from the more immediate, to the longer, more ‘long attention span needed’ moments. Conjures the image of Godspeed You! Black Emperor re-imagining Pink Floyd’s AtomHeartMother, covering it in feedback, and compressing it into a neat 28 minute package, minus the nonsense.

The EP ends on the 15 minute Another One for The Humans. Yes, it’s for you. Here, as on much of the EP, the band, perhaps for the first time in their career, allow for space. The results of which in the opening minutes, complete with sampled vocal sighs, are absolutely gorgeous. Here there is much restraint. The overlapping melodies are present, subtly, delivered by the appegiated guitar, augmented by synth, brought home by the mourning beauty of Carolyn Gannell’s Cello. Everything is mixed superbly, and nothing distracts, nothing overpowers, nothing grates. Distorted guitars are there for texture and body, buried into the base of the tune. Minutes float by and you allow yourself to go with the flow and soak up the beauty that Laura seem so easily and effortlessly able to create. To me, Yes Maybe No marks the beginning of a new chapter in the future of this band, and it is exciting to see what happens from here. Yes Maybe No is an exclusive and limited EP available worldwide from US label Elevation. Don’t hesitate to pick yourself up a copy. Take the Yes from the title. Leave the Maybe at home. And strike No from your vocabulary. Laura are making up your mind.

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