Nyles Lannon

Chemical Friends

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Nyles Lannon's work with San Francisco slowcore proponents Film School suggests that the guitarist and singer understands his Low and Bedhead. His first excursion (as n.Ln) into electronica, 2003's Astronomy for Children, indicated that he already had a firm grasp of the Füxa and Fennesz songbooks. His new release, Chemical Friends, sounds like he's been boning up on the Elliott Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, and Nick Drake, too. The result of all this study is a confluence of influences: intricate fingerpicked acoustics, melancholy lyrics, and programmed beats and synths. Opener "The Catch" sets the bar high, Lannon's nimble finger work and gentle voice enhanced by layers of synth wash and a perfect modicum of well-placed glitches. Over the course of the next ten songs, Lannon weaves a hypnotic (mostly) acoustic spell -- songs like "Turn Time Around," "Fortune Cookie," and especially "Spy" eerily calling to mind the late Smith -- all the while judiciously incorporating shifting computer arrangements at all the right junctures. With a foot in both worlds, Lannon's Chemical Friends is a lesson in how to seamlessly bridge the gap between the electronic and acoustic.

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