Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Italy - Full Moon 79 - 03/18/03

Leben
# 0 EP
demo release, CD-R

God I hate 'post-rock'. Not that I despise the music - it can be lovely, and some of my favourite records sit firmly in the post-rock category. It's just the genre label. 'Post-rock'. Horrible. The trouble is that anything recently released that is described as post-rock tends to be referred to in a derogatory sense, as though anything that sounds post-rock is so irrelevant and derivative as to be meaningless.

For a start there are no vocals, or if there are vocals you are reminded why the band in question don't try singing: they don't have a decent vocalist. (Exhibit A: anything that Mogwai have released with Stuart Braithwaite singing on. Fucking awful.) Hence there is no obvious focus for the songs other than the tunes. But that shouldn't stop a band from playing good instrumental guitar music.

Leben, for the most part, seem to be able to play precise, pretty, instrumental guitar music. This EP showcases the talents of these young Italians, and to be fair there's some lightness of touch. But the problem is that it tries so hard to follow in the footsteps of Tortoise or Mogwai that it ends up just sounding a little desperate. A tempo change here, some tasteful vibraphone there; oh look - a field recording! Aren't we experimental?!

Well, no actually. The problem with a lot of musicians is that they expect music they have come up with to speak on its own just because it sounds like a lot of other admired bands. Competence speaks nothing but its own mediocrity.

There's a strong chance that Leben may develop into a good band in the future. On the strength of this debut EP they have talent, but can't quite rise above that weighty turd of a genre label that is post-rock. Good luck - they'll need it...

Copyright © 2003 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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