Baby Labyrinthian

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The first release on the mysterious and well-worthy AE label from the Seattle area, Lucid's debut album, Baby Labyrinthian, captures the hushed, dark power that the company became known for over its short but striking history. With plenty of overlap between the musicians here and those in After the Flood -- one somehow appears to be a spin-off project of the other -- the two acts share a similar aesthetic of fragmented, minimal pop/ambient explorations. While the relative accessibility can inform similar acts like early His Name Is Alive or Black Tape for a Blue Girl, there's little in the way of direct melodic hooks and much more mood-setting and careful arranging of low-key elements throughout. Echoing creaks and mechanic clanks, slowly phased loops of sound behind slightly distorted vocals, deep, low rumbling drum sounds, and more help to make up this lengthy album -- 31 songs over 74 minutes. Dale Lloyd, the more or less prime mover in After the Flood, also plays a large range of instruments here, but again the exact creative role of anyone in the collective -- seven performers total are credited -- is obscured in favor of the overall presentation. There are some slightly more straightforward parts -- the guitar/vocal interplay of "Forgive If I Forget," although kept low in the mix, or the more upfront but still incredibly delicate "I Overheard." While the whole album is arguably of a piece, there are a number of individual moments worth considering -- the cryptic moan/howl on "Ignite the Foresight" followed by the ebb and flow of shivering, nervous sound on "Of the Miniscule Incubus," the creeped-out wail and church organ collage of "But I Never Wept," the murky wash of "Know How It Had Come to Be Born."