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From our very own cosmopolitan of Sydney, Levingstone brings us a fresh miscellany of musical colours and genres in their newly released EP Modern Burials.
Self-professed as a band “blurring boundaries,” Levingstone unite soulful vocals and funk bass with sweet jazz piano and drums, topped off with eclectic electronic sounds. The end product we receive is an otherworldly sonic tapestry that combines a vocal complexity akin to Hiatus Kaiyote with an ambiance reminiscent of a lazy Saturday afternoon listening to Groove Armada.
Levingstone have just dropped Modern Burials – an expressive journey through an eclectic mix of genres that will transport you to somewhere radiant and peaceful.
An expansive six-track EP, Modern Burials launches the listener into an expressionist journey that seeks to uncover the deep inner world that people, in an attempt to conform to modern life, bury within themselves.
The returning themes of things like ‘skin’ and ‘heart’ we hear in the lyrics portrays this contrast between what appears on the surface and what is actually real underneath.
At times these lyrics are romantically playful and at other times almost violently ‘fleshy’ as if to make us feel, sympathetically, such physical images as “beneath your fingernails the nerve, it peels back.”
Sometimes one is lost in the obscure meaning of Levingstone’s poetry, an obscurity that potentially distracts from the song rather than invites the listener’s engagement. However, it may just be that such esoteric images do in fact reflect this inner world that, in our own case (if we’re honest) we can barely comprehend ourselves.
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When considering the overall musicality of the EP, ‘easy-listening’ and ‘otherworldly’ are certainly fair descriptions.
With its sweet jazz, seductive vocals, groovy bass-lines, and reverb that often invokes an almost trance-like state, the music transports us to what could be the mysterious inner world the artists intend to express. However, one can hardly escape the more exterior images that come to mind as a result of the obvious influences of different musical genres.
At one musical moment we might be walking the suburban streets of the city; at another we will be descending a mountain road on a summer day with the beach in the distance waiting to greet us. But it would seem that such musical moments are hardly calling for the lyrics we’ve been given. In fact they would seem to be loudly contrasted with the deep themes the artists want to present.
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However, black is never as black as when displayed in front of a white canvas, so too, perhaps the juxtaposition of the deep lyrics against the smooth musical backdrop makes them even more penetrating than if they had been displayed with music of like mood. And perhaps this contrast is yet another attempt by the artists to present the clashing of the inner and outer worlds that form the overall theme of this EP.
Modern Burials is certainly a delight on ears fatigued by some aspects modern music. The vocals are particularly alluring with colour and expression that vocalist Sammii Su brings. The lyrics have substance and depth, devoid of trite clichés and smut; and the musical craft is clear and meticulous. Surely, Levingstone have a bright future ahead of them.
Levingstone just kicked off an east coast tour. Catch them at the following dates!
Fri 29th July // La De Da // Canberra
Thu 4th Aug // Oxford Circus (EP Launch Show) // Sydney
Sat 5th Aug // Rad Bar // Wollongong