Music Reviews

Lean Year Sides

(Western Vinyl) Rating - 7/10

On their second LP, Lean Year unleashes complex emotions in quiet torrents with aching honesty. Confronted with the loss of their parents, the Virginia duo of Emilie Rex and Rick Alverson cope by painting evocative scenes filled with a nocturnal glow. Similar to slowcore veterans Low, the atmospheric pull of Sides takes over along with minimal use of instruments. On The Trouble With Being Warm and Bad Woman, Rex lets out a smooth timbre over calm piano plinks and dim-lit lounge, respectfully. Drum taps carefully measure these songs over stunning use of space, as if trying to ease their internal conflict. But there's a pulse there, and as album centerpiece Bend demonstrates, the duo experiments with discordance and tenebrous pitch shifting. Aside from its occasionally fastidious patience, Sides captures the duo's rawness and nuance with an aesthetic that is all their own.