Landshapes (formerly Lulu and the Lampshades) are a foursome most well-known for playing on cups in their kitchen. They are raucously fun to see live, playing a dizzying array of instruments (especially percussive ones), and Rambutan is rhythmically and musically diverse.
Opening track ‘Racehorse’ paces itself in echoing expansiveness, before the rest of the album lifts off: ‘In Limbo’, ‘LJ Jones’ and ‘Threads’ veer between whirligig excitement and languid coolness, but ‘Impasse’ feels like the heart of the album, full of luxurious textures and heady possibilities: “I saw fireworks and leaves, and a whirlwind of impossible territory”. The background thrum is magical, fitting this Bonfire Night imagery, before hitting disappointed impatience: “I thought that you’d love me by now!”
‘Blu Tac’ has the gentlest opening so far, before an uneasy note creeps in. A lone voice is given space, creating intimacy, although sliding-up-and-down-the-notes can start to feel lazily offhand; the sheer range of ‘Night So Strong’ makes it clear they can hit those notes dead centre. A refusal to sing nicely generally pays off, politeness be damned – ‘Detour Ahead’ really lets rip – but sometimes I get weary of the vocal swooping about; quieter moments make the belting choruses more of a release.
This is an album full of lively and vivid SOUNDS: the xylophone in ‘Insomniacs Club’ makes me practically gleeful. “To dream seamlessly” is one snatch of the lyrics, but could also be a statement of intent: Rambutan is casually crammed with bright threads, seamlessly woven.
Words: Becky Varley-Winter