Review of Lease of Life Album by Errors

It's been 10 years now since seminal post-rock band Mogwai unearthed Errors from their bedroom and signed them to Rock Action Records. In their early releases, Errors championed a distinctly electronic brand of post-rock that was both introspective and dancey. On more recent releases ('Have Some Faith In Magic' and 'New Relics'), the band expand their sound with a stronger focus on dance and pop music than their early work.

Errors Lease of Life Album

'Lease Of Life' sees Errors putting even more distance between themselves and their guitar-heavy post-rock for a vibrant tapestry of electronic sounds that spans likenesses all the way from Pet Shop Boys to Graceland era Paul Simon. The trio experiment heavily with deep synth sounds and irregular drum patterns. Opener 'Collossal Estates' and the successive title track make use of tropical-sounding synth melodies and bright keyboard parts. Stylistically, Errors frequently move closer to eighties synth-pop, while incorporating electronica and leftfield elements.

Errors can be commended on their ability to evoke a soundscape which is both meditative and upbeat. This quality comes from the band's refusal in the past to assign themselves to the limitations of being either a rock band or an electro-group - this has allowed Errors the freedom in their experimentation to explore both of these areas to a pretty comprehensive degree.

For releases entitled things like 'Celebrity Come Down With Me' and 'How Clean Is Your Acid House', Errors became known for not taking themselves too seriously. However, the scope of this release makes that attribute a difficult one to uphold  - Gain-heavy synth, and far-away falsettos demonstrate the ambitious depth of this album. Errors are consistently varied; the title track culminates in a fast-paced frenzy of synths, sixth track 'Dull Care' is a haunting lullaby, featuring some of the album's more allegorical lyrics ('When someone knocked on an open door I could feel it in another world' and 'with the footsteps comes the heartbeat and with the heartbeat comes the flood') while instrumental track 'Early Nights' broods in ambient synths, evocative of melo-dramatic sci-fi movie endings.

Some of the less serious tracks on here include 'Genuflection', which feels like a disco tune when it sets out and 'Slow Rotor' - synth melodies are reminiscent of a lighter 'Head Over Heels' by Tears for Fears and the chorus is a wash of airy synth and vocals. This is 'Lease of Life' at its catchiest and is no shock choice for single release.

Errors fierce experimentalism and knack for arousing lofty thoughts are more fully realized in 'Lease Of Life''s pristine production. The addition of vocals on nearly all tracks push this even further. Errors enlist Cecilia Stamp and Bek Oliva (Magic Eye) for guest vocals, often experimenting with effects and harmonies. These elements contribute to the album's spatial and psychedelic feel, although by the end of the album can feel tired and somewhat repetitive. Album closer 'Through The Knowledge of Those Who Observe Us' lasts over thirteen minutes, choral vocals and jazzy horn solo offer an elegant final word on an otherwise wild sonic experience.

On 'Lease of Life', Errors create a vast, exotic environment that is as enthralling as it is unexpected. The loss of guitarist Greg Patterson in 2011 has allowed the group new experimental avenues, culminating in an album that is wildly inspired. Unfortunately, 'Lease of Life' lacks longevity and some of the album's stylistic nuances grow tired by the album's end. Nonetheless a compelling and entertaining listen which demonstrates unique musical insight.


Chris Canavan

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