Having established their sound, Labradford took the admirable step on their sophomore release by extending it to further levels rather than simply refining what was already there, as well as adding bass player Robert Donne to the lineup. Whether various live appearances with Main in fact had an impact, Labradford here resembles that extremely avant-garde group in creating honest to goodness "post-rock" as originally defined by critic Simon Reynolds -- music reliant on rock instruments but avoiding bluesy riffs and pop hooks in favor of sheer light and shade, very much at home in the studio. The biggest change on Reference has remained a near-constant ever since, namely, the removal of lyrics and vocal parts from almost all tracks, outside of some extremely understated and intentionally buried in-the-mix-bits scattered throughout the record. Other long-running motifs started to appear as well -- astoundingly obscure cover art, short and/or nonsensical terms for song titles, such as "SEDR 77," and even more attention on mix complexity, with subtle yet important sonic elements and samples scattered throughout the songs. The middle track of the release remains the most noteworthy -- "Eero," a long, doomy song consisting almost entirely of guitar reverb -- without guitar -- and dark keyboard drones echoing into the far distance. Songs like "Mas" and "Balanced on Its Own Flame" retain the greatest similarity to Prazision due to the echoed, deliberate guitar playing and general pace, yet in the end, Reference already points to the increasingly more challenging albums in Labradford's near future.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett