From Italy and New York, Life & Limb comprise of Andrea Mangia and Mike McGuire. This, their follow-up to 2008’s longplayer, Drawn In Basic, is ten tracks of lovely, well crafted, synth-based pop with a very endearing quality.
Opener, Fingers Fall, starts with a heartbeat type throb, light percussion enters and vocals which are soothing and calming. At little over two minutes it’s a worthy opener, and, very catchy. A chorus that isn’t over repetitive, but, still lingers on well over the track has finished. There’s a slight 80s, feel about Nadja. That’s in a good way, not a bad one. Let’s not forget that the early-mid 80s was the last music ‘explosion’ we had in the UK – like it or not, there hasn’t been anything like it since, and, the way we are absorbing reality pop competitions at the moment, there won’t be for some time. Again, another very memorable chorus, and currently, a popular hit on YouTube.
Apparently, Mangia and McGuire share a love of De La Soul, and it’s actually pretty easy to see. Not in a rap or hip-hop sense, but, with the delicate insertion of sounds and clicks and offbeat gestures. Carry On as a backing track, wouldn’t sound out of place on for instance, Three Feet High And Rising. It’s gorgeous, as are many of the tracks on this album, and there is its strong point. Kneel Therefore starts with an almost oriental twang. It moves along with gentle ease. To be honest, I struggle to pick out many of the words on this album, but, that is indicative of its strength – the songs are still enjoyable in a rewarding way.
Wild Coast is an instrumental, and, at less than one and a half minutes, I’ll be honest, I don’t really see the point of it.
I want to like Before The Flame And The Flood, but bizarrely, it makes me feel sick. The music up to the chorus fades in and out, and when I’m driving, it makes me feel quite nauseous. The chorus is lovely and whimsical, and it’s a shame that the lead up has such an effect on me – at least it’s given me a new musical experience!
Selling A Storm is probably the highlight of the album. Great bass sound to start, simple but memorable chorus. Words that I can understand. Mangia and McGuire really do have the ability to knock out a good tune and this is proof of that. Some similarities in vocal tone with Neil Tennant whilst Cage Seeks Bird reminds me of Bryan Wilson and the Pet Sounds vibe – perfect melody, gentle vocals and a little bit of strange. Lovely stuff.
The album ends with the two longest tracks – Moments Fading and Ghostly Incantations. Both are accomplished songs. The former rattles along never seeming to go anywhere, but, at the same time covering lots of ground. Perfect music to drift away to, as is the final track which begins slowly and lazily. Building slowly to a bigger, fuller sound before fading and fizzling away into the distance.
There’s something about this album that I really can’t put my finger on. I actually can’t stop listening to it. Very enjoyable and incredibly listenable.