Sunday 1 September 2019

Lavinia - Sallowed

Labels: Self-released/Pax Aeternum Digital
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 26 Jul 2019


1. White River
2. All Arms Out
3. Wither
4. Embers
5. Last Leaves
6. Fall Risk
7. Window
8. Sallowed

September is the month where I put more pressure on myself to write, because even though I've said to myself that I can't force it, I've not been as productive as I'd have liked and as my main source of escapism from a job that tests me mentally, I need to do this. I don't know of I'll be able to write 30 reviews this month (that is my aim) but starting with Texan post-rock band Lavinia is a way of signalling my intent. The band, featuring personnel from Appleseed Cast, Junius, Rosetta and more, has released "Sallowed" via Dark Operative Records imprint Pax Aeternum Digital and is crowdfunding a limited vinyl pressing (as well as a possible CD release in the future). 

It feels right to be ending the week and to be facing the grim spectre of a new one with something calming and Lavinia’s “Sallowed” is certainly that. The initial intro track White River is a mere hint towards the band’s musicianship and craft. It’s only when All Arms Out comes intro view that it truly begins to make sense. Dissonant at times but with obvious melody and accessibility too, in the guitars, the drums and indeed the vocals. 

On hearing Wither, I’d liken Lavinia to “Antenna” era Cave In and maybe Pelican too, but that’s by-the-by. They’re very much their own band though, so any comparisons I make are really just doing them a disservice. The added heaviness that permeates through Wither is great and adds a heap of grit to their sound. Embers makes you realise that this is an album that needs to be listened to with the utmost concentration, as it’s aural layers and textures swirl around your ears. It’s mainly instrumental and it works amazingly well.

There’s no better way to start the second half of an album than with Last Leaves. It’s got that cinematic vibe to it that is characteristic within post-rock. Mellow but also able to conjure up all kinds of images within the mind. I’m not afraid to say that I nearly feel asleep to the soothing sounds of Fall Risk. The guitar-work after the mid-point of the song, paired with the urgency of the drumming was enough to bring me back to my senses though. 

Penultimate song Widow is equally as calming, once again featuring more instrumentation than vocals and continuously building on the momentum that Lavinia have gathered throughout this album. They leave the title-track for the end and its a fine way too close things out. The dissonance from earlier on is somewhat ignored, but then again this song stretches past the nine-minute mark so there’s still time. It does get slightly heavier towards its conclusion, but their “heavy” isn’t the same as your “heavy”. It’s probably more apt to call it dreamy.

Finding something to say as a closing piece is difficult here. Let’s just finish by saying that you should give “Sallowed” your attention forthwith as when those winter nights draw ever closer, you’ll need something to hold you and to keep you warm. Post-rock album of year (possibly).

Stream and purchase "Sallowed" digitally via Pax Aeternum below:-

For news regarding the vinyl pressing go to -

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