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  • After quickly bashing out their second album, Chambers, over a few days' time in a Chicago studio, Mexican duo Lorelle Meets the Obsolete decided to go for something more homegrown and organic for their next effort. Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto Gonzalez relocated to the Baja California Peninsula and slowly began working on a new album. Their previous albums were murky dispatches of lushly psychedelic, blown-out guitar heaviness that were sure to satisfy sonic travelers wondering what it would have sounded like if Loop, Broadcast, the Warlocks, and Spacemen 3 all got together for an epic jam session. This time out, the duo took a (small) step back from the cloudy abyss by tightening up the production, boosting Quintanilla's honey-sweet vocals in the mix, and adding loads of vintage synthesizers to the arrangements. There are still tracks heavy enough that they'd need two powerlifters to get them off the ground; the bubbling witch metal "It Must Be the Only Way" and the subaquatic "Waves Under Shadows" certainly qualify and, if not for the synths, would have fit in on previous records just fine. Added to their core competencies are tracks like the half synth soundscape, half motorik workout "The Sound of All Things" and the pastoral freak folk ballad "Father's Tears," which apply everything they know about sound design and dynamics in new, exciting ways. It's always satisfying when bands take a step outside their established boundaries and take chances, even more so when it works out as well as it does on Balance. The best moments are when the new and old collide in Technicolor bursts of sound, like on the roiling "Ching," where the keyboards and guitars battle for sonic supremacy while the hypnotic rhythm lulls you into a trance. Or on "Balance," where the spaces between the notes loom as large as the notes themselves and the synth hovers over the choppy melody in ways that bring to mind Opal at their best. Or on the almost poppy "La Distinci?n," which shows off some serious synth game and the gnarliest guitar sound on the record. Because it's not just about the keys; the duo's love of huge, fuzzy guitars hasn't dimmed and anyone who shares that love will find Balance to be something pretty special. So will lovers of psychedelic music, fans of dream pop, shoegaze aficionados, and people who want music that will remind them of the past, but take them somewhere new. ~ Tim Sendra
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