Album Review: The Laurels – Plains

I seem to have been to Australia on a few occasions. Its lovely, and my favourite place has always been Sydney. The capital city always seems to have more things going on, feels more bohemian, seems so much prettier. I walked up to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge one (a difficult task since I was on tour there and we had to be breathalised before going up at some ungodly hour in the morning. But it was worth it. That view over the harbour on that beautiful (isn’t it always though) morning made everything seem, good.

Coming out of that very same city and causing waves much further afield are Laurels. The four piece, consisting of Conor Hannan, Kate Wilson, Piers Cornelius, Luke O’Farrell have made an Indie- Psych album that is of the highest quality. Reminiscent of Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine and the whole of that shoegaze scene, what separates it from the rest of the new-shoegazers is the quality of the songwriting. Although out in Australia last year, the record is being re-released in the US on April 16th.


The album opens with Tidal Wave, and all at once you (well, I was) transported back to those heady days of the late 1980s – maybe even going as far as very early Charlatans, with that druggy wash of sound and understated vocals. I don’t know if it’s just because I know they’re from Australia, but there’s this sort of laid-back, surfy sparkle about the whole thing.

The album veers between the psych garage of ‘Changing the timeline’ (whose sudden ending is like snapping out of that haze, you know, ‘that’ haze) to the muddy wash of This City is coming down, with its proper 1960’s Psych feel. Also in evidence is the epic sonic ambition of tracks like glacier and Sway me down gently, to the uplifting, well, Jesus & Mary Chain pop of Manic Sunday.

This is a debut album to be devoured, and revisited, memorised and loved. It’s like a sonic version of that picture I have in my head. You know, the one from the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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