Languis - The Four Walls [Plug Research / Lowlands - 2004]Originally a duo from Argentina, Languis relocated in California more than ten years ago. The four walls is their fifth album.
It is also the first one they release on Plug Research, label home to a handful of very good bands, the best one being, according to me of course, Dntel. They, unlike main man Tamborello’s other project, The Postal Service, managed to bring out the best out of the marriage of electronica and pop music. A very sensible pop sense for song writing and subtle take on electronic music made for an awesome album, Life is full of possibilities.
On this new album, Languis make me think a lot of that Dntel album. They definitely are part of the same “movement”. For some reason, beside Dntel, I’ve never been able to get into the other bands, such as TPS or Death Cab for Cutie, so it’s a good thing that I can actually enjoy The Four Walls.
What they have in common with the aforementioned bands is the very gentle, poppy melodies, nice emotional vocals, with electronic accompaniment to the “traditional” instruments. However, Languis has an identity of its own. For instance, they do not tend to *always* write songs. Now and then, they seem to opt for contemplative instrumentals that have more to do with psychedelic music than poptronics. Another thing is that they music is sort of enveloped in a “purple haze”. You know, like it was “music in a cloud”, layers of sounds, a Jefferson Airplane take on electronic music.
However interesting and different their approach might be, Languis failed to offer a great album. Too much of the same thing over the course of the ten songs. It should please fans of both DNTEL and M83, which is not a bad thing: no new album from the latter and the former’s latest album was just lame. With a little more conviction and imagination, I’m sure the Argentineans will be able to bring something special next time.François Monti