Life & Limb – Life & Limb (Enclaves)
From Italy and New York, Life & Limb comprise of Andrea Mangia and Mike McGuire. This, their follow-up to 2008âs longplayer, Drawn In Basic, is ten tracks of lovely, endearing, well crafted, synth-based pop and, as Paul Scott-Bates review confirms, rather lovely it is too.
Opening track Fingers Fall starts with a heartbeat type throb before light percussion enters and vocals begin, vocals which are soothing and calming. At a little over two minutes itâs a worthy opener, and very catchy. The chorus isnât over repetitive but it still lingers on in the memory well after the track has finished. Thereâs a slight 80s, feel about Nadja – in a good way, not a bad way. Letâs not forget that the early-mid 80s was the last music âexplosionâ we had in the UK â like it or not, there hasnât been anything like it since and the way we are absorbing reality pop competitions at the moment there wonât be for some time. Again, another very memorable chorus and currently racking up the hits on YouTube.
Apparently, Mangia and McGuire share a love of De La Soul, and itâs actually pretty easy to see. Not in a rap or hip-hop sense but rather with the delicate insertion of sounds and clicks and offbeat gestures. Carry On as a backing track wouldnât sound out of place on, for instance, Three Feet High And Rising. Itâs gorgeous, as are many of the tracks on this album, and that is its strong point. Kneel Therefore starts with an almost oriental twang. It moves along with gentle ease. To be honest, I struggle to pick out many of the words on this album but that is indicative of its strength â the songs are still enjoyable in a rewarding way.
Wild Coast is an instrumental track and at less than one and a half minutes, Iâll be honest, I donât really see the point of it.
I want to like Before The Flame And The Flood but bizarrely it makes me feel sick. The music up to the chorus fades in and out, and when Iâm driving, it makes me feel quite nauseous. The chorus is lovely and whimsical, and itâs a shame that the lead up has such an effect on me â at least itâs given me a new musical experience!
Selling A Storm is probably the highlight of the album. Great bass sound to start, simple but memorable chorus. Words that I can understand. Mangia and McGuire really do have the ability to knock out a good tune and this is proof of that. Some similarities in vocal tone with Neil Tennant whilst Cage Seeks Bird reminds me of Bryan Wilson and the Pet Sounds vibe â perfect melody, gentle vocals and a little bit of strange. Lovely stuff.
The album ends with the two longest tracks â Moments Fading and Ghostly Incantations. Both are accomplished songs. The former rattles along never seeming to go anywhere but at the same time covering lots of ground. Perfect music to drift away to, as is the final track which begins slowly and lazily. Building slowly to a bigger, fuller sound before fading and fizzling away into the distance.
Thereâs something about this album that I really canât put my finger on. I actually canât stop listening to it. Very enjoyable and incredibly listenable.
***STOP PRESS NEW REMIX***
Life & Limb’s label have just sent overÂ the Udachi remix of âBefore The Flame & The Floodâ. You can listen to it & download it below …
All words Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here.