diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

 Subscribe in a reader

Recent Interviews

diskant Staff Sites

More Sites We Like

LEMANIS – The truth about a Push Me Pull You (CD, self-released)

Posted: May 10th, 2009, by Simon Minter

Plymouth’s Lemanis are a cottage industry Polyphonic Spree, a Flaming Lips tethered to the Earth, a schizophrenic Brian Wilson who hasn’t yet installed his sandpit. According to their blurb, they have a core of four members but install up to ten extra players when recording or playing live. “If stage size allows”. So, one might expect a certain richness and layering of sound here – as is almost unavoidable with that number of people, unless you’re talking Glenn Branca guitar orchestras or whatever – and that’s what this album is made up of, for the most part.

If an album’s first track is an introduction to the band, then here’s a band of many sides, and some considerable talent. ‘Museum’ opens with a repetitive guitar drone (oddly reminiscent of the old snooker theme tune), and a bit of early-Blur guitar twang. It then kicks into a slide guitar-led groove that’s all very much a laid-back West Coast thang, before introducing horns and dreamy shoegaze harmonies. Then comes some meta-Pretty Things SF Sorrow storytelling. Then comes the string section. It’s almost exhaustingly rich and complex.

And so continues the album, really. There’s very little let up from this constant switching of musical styles, vocal styles, tempo, mood and texture, save for a somewhat refreshingly dull few tracks from ‘Moon Song’ to ‘Loving Her Forest When’. Even during that section, ‘Rub It When It Hurts’ can’t help itself from flying off into a whacked-out country & western yeeha psuedo-majestic Riverdance session. Surrounding this part of the album, we’ve got Spiritualizedesque hymnal brass, slick MOR indie pop, fiddly-diddly Levellers nonsense and the Jesus And Mary Chain going Beach Boys. Finally, the album ends with three tracks blending in to one another, resulting in a pleasantly operatic, widescreen flourish. It’s like the modern psychedelia of Flaming Lips or Mercury Rev, but it avoids (as they do also) the trappings of a soundalike 1960s tribute band.

It seems that Lemanis’ skill can’t be underestimated, at least in terms of their constructing and playing of complex and measured music in any number of styles. If I have to suggest a concern, it would be that they’re trying to do too much: I’m not left feeling that I know them, after hearing this album. I’d find it difficult to explain their music to somebody without resorting to a stream-of-consciousness like you’ve just read. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or not.


Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


Comments are closed.