Lomax "A Symbol of Modern Living"

Lomax "A Symbol of Modern Living" LP

Reviewed by: Joshua A. Pfeiffer

  Last week I received a copy of the debut LP from Lomax, a UK based politically charged Art-Punk group. I had read a few reviews of the LP, and of course as always, I can never really depend on most reviews to give me any kind of idea what the band really sounds like? So I naturally contacted their label and received a promotional copy for my own perusal.

  Lomax is an interesting group. They have a very classic Post-Punk backbone with a decidedly modern edge. Kind of how bands like The Strokes, The Hives, etc. were modernizing early 70's Proto-Punk a few years back. I just hope that this re-interest in Post-Punk will turn out to be more than another passing fad.

  The opening track Bodies of Journalists kicks the album off with a hefty rocking start. Some interesting guitar work in their that drags you back to the artsy experimental guitar style of groups like Wire, Bauhaus, etc. The bass playing on most of the album is similar to Gang of Four, and their Funk inclined brethren (Gang of Four seems to be a major influence on a number of new bands actually). The next track Brought to Rights has a nice catchy melody with almost spoken word lyrics. the guitar work is once again very early 80's inspired with a nice usage of feedback, and effects. Their's a really sweet guitar breakdown towards the end of the track. A lot of the tracks on this album have some pretty rewarding moments if you sit through them in their entirety.

  Arnstein's Ladder immediately reminds me of artists like The Jam, The Clash, The Ruts, Pete Wylie, etc. with it's stressed lyrics, which give the listener the impression that singer Paul Epworth is actually quite passionate about what he's ranting about. It harkens back to the heyday of Punk, when artists were actually trying to say something. When the Pressure's On is straight up Pink Flag, Art-Punk territory. With a young (Stiff Kittens/Warsaw era) Ian Curtis spitting out the venom tinged lyrics. The song has a very constraining feel to it, which adds to the whole theme of the number.

  Anglicized follows with a very groove heavy funk vibe. As mentioned earlier, Gang of Four is an obvious influence on these lads. A little Killing Joke pokes it's head out at times as well. Not to mention ACR. This is one of the groups first singles, and it makes a good one. Modern Life is treading once again in Gang of Four waters. However this track has some great modern flourishes to let the listener know they are listening to a contemporary group of musicians. Interesting use of synths, samples, etc.

  Knuckleheads is probably my least favorite piece on the album. It's not a bad song, it just rehashes some of the territory that the group have already visited on the album. It's definitely Art-Punk. Their's no doubt of that. Principles on the other hand is one of my favorite pieces on this album. It starts off with a very experimental style. Reminding me a lot of "Nerves" by Bauhaus. Just in the way it builds from a simple drum pattern with sparse guitar chords, to a rollicking cacophony of noise. Well that and the effects they implement throughout the song are completely "In the Flat Field".

  An End is another one of my favorite tracks from the album. It has a great balance of driving percussion, with flowing effects laden guitars and keyboards. The only complaint I have is it's a bit repetitive, and quite a bit longer than any of the other songs on the album (which wouldn't be a problem, if the song changed up a bit more). The final track Reiterator was a great choice to close the album with. A nice bass heavy groove drives the song along. The chorus is especially catchy and memorable. The laid back style of the song makes it really easy on the ears too. I'm glad they didn't go for a balls to the wall sonic assault to close the album with (though that could have been interesting too). This track could easily be a dancefloor favorite (I'm pretty sure I'll be spinning it soon).

  So after listening to the album about twenty times I can say confidently that Lomax have delivered a fine debut. They manage to do a few new things with the Post-Punk sound, which is enough to recommend the album to anyone with even a casual interest in this great style of music.

93 Records (Lomax Homepage)