Beautiful affecting prog-pop from Aqualungs Matt Hayles and violinist / arranger Davide Rossi
In the children’s TV series based on Lauren Child’s books, Søren Lorensen is The childrens imaginary friend, usually a grey outline figure that stands on the periphery.
Named so after his children were watching episodes, Marty Hales (he of aqualung) has teamed up with arranger and violinist Davide Rossi, who’s worked in the past with the likes of Goldfrapp, Coldplay and Royksopp, under that moniker. It’s with the blessing of Child, who’s drawn the album cover for the pair. Unlike the character they’re named after though, judging by their debut album Lake Constance, they aren’t just an outline – they’re a very vivid picture indeed.
In part that’s no surprise. Hayles has long had a ear for writing beautiful, emotive prog-pop, and here he does so again, with tracks such as Dead Disco, Time Machine and (in particular) Swallow inducing those prickles, such is the beauty and space he is able to leave in his songs. Shrouded in electronics, but wrapped in Rossi’s rich (occasionally too rich, but only by a hairs breath) arrangements which are string led and veer between pastorale and almost baroque sounding moments occasionally, together the pair are able to create moments of heartstopping emotion.
There are sections, songs even when Rossi’s textures dominate and the strings weave their intricate patterns, with or without Hayles his presence. While these are often charming, almost always ripe with emotion, the best moments on the album are when Hayles comes to the fore and Rossi wraps his lines of suspension filled melodies around Hayles songwriting. Album closer Glow is a case in point. A perfect little pop song, Rossi clothes is in this rising, uplifting lines, interspersed with these fluttering moments that sweep across the headphones with such sweetness, it’s almost impossible not to fall for it. Underneath (like, way underneath) are these popping synth noises and this bassline that shudders in your shoes. It’s worth the cost of the album just on its own.
This Søren Lorensen is a fully grown, emotive and colourful character. He might not be perfect, might even need to scale things down, just that little bit on occasion, but he can make you smile and cry and sad and euphoric. I very much like this Søren Lorensen.