LNZNDRF Are Otherworldly Yet Familiar at Mercury LoungeMarch 7th, 2016
LNZNDRF – Mercury Lounge – March 5, 2016
The first thing you may have noticed as LNZNDRF assembled onstage at Mercury Lounge for the first of two sold-out shows on Saturday night was their matching tie-dyed long-sleeve coveralls. With the stage’s backdrop lit to resemble the cover of their self-titled debut album, a large planetary sphere, the band members resembled some sort of scrappy but very chill NASA technicians. The scene set the tone for the music, originally conceived through a whirlwind session of extended musical improvisations by Ben Lanz (of Beirut) and Scott and Bryan Devendorf (of the National).
The resulting album captures snippets of these jams and delves into darker, louder and even spacier territory than what you would likely expect from their other bands. Songs like “Kind Things” and “Future You” contained intricate moments of almost disorientating feedback alongside minimal guitar lines on Saturday night. And Bryan Devendorf’s powerful drumming soon punctuated the lulling, hypnotic quality with the ability to transform the material into catchy head-nodders.
At moments, LNZNDRF brought to mind the likes of New Order, the Jesus and Mary Chain and even Brian Eno (particularly during Lanz’s vocals on “Monument” and “Beneath the Black Sea”). But despite these comparisons, LNZNDRF also seem unconcerned with fitting into any particular sound or style, instead using their live show to channel the loose, experimental atmosphere of those initial jam sessions—an immersive experience, otherworldly yet familiar. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK