In the northeastern United States we are still waiting for spring to fully take hold after one of the longest and most brutal winters in decades. Were we to bypass spring’s blossoming, skipping right to summer’s heat and overgrowth, I doubt anyone would complain right away. However, in Asian culture, a year without spring — Lichun — is considered unlucky. 2013, being the Year of the Snake, was such a year. Perhaps this astrological sign is to blame.
Postulating on this theme is Brooklyn’s Lisa Liu (Magnetic Island, Renminbi, Danger, Giant Ranger!), a pedigreed and studied musician equally adept at moody rock, classical compositions and jazz signatures. Now performing under the moniker Las Lanas on her solo debut, Liu has retained the droning guitars and atmospheric vocal wash from her earlier bands on The Blind Year. Despite using only guitar and piano, there is a fullness to The Blind Year that belies such a minimalist approach.
From the hypnotic cadence of opener, “Lie & Sow,” and repetitive piano and lullaby lyrics of “Threshold” to the finger-picked guitar of “On Waking” and dark wedding march of standout “Something Borrowed,” Liu subtly draws tension from her songs as if diligently unwinding a skein of thread.
Listening to The Blind Year is like eavesdropping on fragmented conversations: you are never quite aware of the full story but you carry on in hopes of piecing the voices together. In doing so you will be rewarded.
Stream/purchase The Blind Year below.