Simplicity and Her Sister, Laziness

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Evenly split between the two participating bands, Simplicity and Her Sister, Laziness makes for an effective taster for both ONQ and Minmae, a fine way to get to know two inspired solo artists and their penchant for home-recorded efforts. The minimal instrumental "Quoto 95 Bpm" starts off ONQ's section, a lovely keyboard piece with a hint of Philip Glass/Steve Reich flow to it, but from there ONQ steers a generally different course. Hypnotic guitar lines caught somewhere between Slint, the Smiths, and Joy Division, plus ONQ's own distant, blurred singing, made so via the appropriate tape trickery, result in a glaze of sound that provides propulsion with and without drums. Songs like the wonderful "The Supreme Weight" and "Lament 2000," the latter an acoustic guitar/bongos/bells wash that's much better than it looks on paper, testify to his worth. "White," meanwhile, recalls the desperate, slow melancholy of long-lost bands like Codeine, not a bad influence to be playing with at all. As for Minmae (aka Sean Brooks), his songs, in the act-two portion of the disc, focus on clearer singing and a steering away -- at least for this recording -- from his more familiar shoegaze meets aggro indie rock combination. Such tunes as "The Previous Show" and "No End, No End" are more snaky and subtle, with breathy lyrics and quick but quiet riffs leading the way (the latter in particular is a great slice of downbeat guitar chime). "Do Not Pretend" is arguably the best song on the whole disc, Brooks' mournful, heavily echoed singing capturing a truly melancholy situation with affective strength; the simple but spot-on combination of drum machine and acoustic guitar just what was needed.