Brothers Jared and Michael Bell are the two fellows behind the band Lymbyc Systym, and on their debut they've managed to create a cinematic instrumental rock album that somehow manages to sound unique despite the heavily crowded field. Sure, you can hear hints of about ten or more different artists in their work, and at different moments on the release you could pick out everyone from Mice Parade to Mum to D.O.T. to Album Leaf (Jimmy Lavalle actually joins the duo for a couple tracks on this album) as influences.
Although many bands with a similar sound tend to let things get away from themselves once in awhile, Love Your Abuser actually has a serious pop bend to it. With ten songs that clock in at roughly forty minutes in length, pieces unfold at fairly brisk paces without ever feeling rushed, and the whole album flows together in a unified way that just begs repeated listening. The opening track "Rest Easy/Age Kindly" seems familiar to the ear as it layers some shimmering guitars and chimes in a way that sounds almost Sigur Ros-esque. Just about the time you think it's going to sound like a copy, though, the track morphs into a curling analogue synth coda.
"Love Your Abuser" follows, and it layers a slew of synth melodies into a dense wash while multiple layers of drums (both live and programmed) both drift into the background and burst forth in dynamic ways. "Astrology Days" might very well be one of the standouts on the entire release, as the almost two-part track moves through a hazy, dense analogue first section into a slightly more organic second half that's absolutely gorgeous, with marching snares keeping horns, chimes, and electric piano in line.
Although there are a few quieter ambient moments, the album is at its best when the two brothers are really showing their stuff (Jared mostly takes care of the melodic core while Michael is the rhythmic guru). "Fall Bicycle" shifts back and forth between almost electro-styled programmed beats and live drumming while the track weaves playfully with more wide swaths of keyboards, while the four minute "Pittsburgh Left" feels like it could go on for about three times the length and not stretch things with subtle layers of chimes, pinging melodies, and beat that changes from 4/4 kick stomp to swirling breakbeats without losing a step. If you've listened to a fair amount of post rock, you've probably heard music similar to Lymbyc Systym before, but fortunately this young duo have turned in something slightly new and fresh with their debut that's definitely deserves some attention. If you enjoy any of the bands mentioned above, or like-minded music, seek this one out.