Review: This Is Lorelei - "Better To Be"

This Is Lorelei - Better To Be
(2017 Self-Released)

Its swells of autotune rippling in a tropical post-chillwave breeze, "You I Fall Into" billows above sonic territory bordering Autre Ne Veut's early discography and Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreaks. Leading off This Is Lorelei's third EP released in as many months, it foregoes the Chicago-based solo act's preferred pallette of jittery math-rock riffage for a foamy head of bossa-nova vapor that rests on a gentle groove. At scattered intervals, Lorelei hacks up throat-clearing synth distortion that makes room for more complex arrangements: the rhythm guitar's minimal, Dirty Beaches flow tightens into a crunchier twang as the song worms its way into a meditative furrow. 

Oddly enough, Better To Be relegates its title cut to its virtual B-Side - a smart move, considering its sparse arrangements and sweeping sentimentality, which lend themselves more to conclusion than their predecessor, bursting with jazzy kinetic energy. Bouncing atop a four-on-the-floor kick drum, a single keyboard phrase kneads the tune into the repetition it references. I can't help but be reminded of the futurist-folk ethose employed by author Nicholson Baker on the musical accompaniment to his novel, The Traveling Sprinkler.

"Are you ready to repeat?"

TIL's vocoder carries most of the emotional burden here, seasoning each loop with a new sense of automaton moodiness - sometimes quaint and hopeful, while at other times huskily content.

Somewhat of an outlier in This Is Lorelei's prolific discography, Better To Be is an ode to the daily grind: a call to appreciate the flares of variation that guide us from week to week.