It feels like an age since we have heard from the Landscapes camp. Just over three years have passed since the band’s desolating debut ‘Life Gone Wrong’ was released by Pure Noise and left its dark mark on all that heard it, before silence hit and the band’s future seemed uncertain. Yet now with new album ‘Modern Earth’ rising from the depths to paint another layer of haunting angst across the scene, there is a lot to be excited about alongside your ever-present misery.
Everything that Landscapes have created throughout their career has always felt very raw and earthy. No ounce of feeling is ever held back and each slab of desolation is delivered with earnest and reason. Rather than opt for the hard and heavy approach, Landscapes linger. They stew in their sadness and let it ferment as it passes through the speakers. They play with the intent and purpose that prompts you to wake up in a cold sweat crippled by your insecurities. This level of commitment brings us perfectly to where they stand in 2016. Like Blacklisted at their most discouraging and More Than Life at their most violent, ‘Modern Earth’ is the audio equivalent of your already tender subconscious silently combusting.
Throughout, this record feels like a true coming-of-age, in sound and in substance. Realising truly that life’s problems cannot be solved overnight and using their musical platform to share such a revelation, the band sound confident yet downcast. ‘Embrace’ and ‘Death After Life’ pierce with broken feeling and lingering resonance, while ‘Neighbourhood’ pokes at the heart and revels in the sadness that comes pouring out. ‘Remorser’ simmers rather than spews with building acoustics and eventual skin-tugging ferocity, while closer ‘Heaven Ascended’ sees things out with a lasting taste of bitterness and a lingering sense of purpose. This is an album that is powerful and beautiful, yet delicate enough to not give away its full potential too quickly, and that truly is a rare trait.
Through and through, ‘Modern Earth’ is a slow-burning but no less effective release. With a higher level of maturity but with the same level of punishing sadness, Landscapes have taken their time in recording and releasing a record that has the staying power to still effect your mindset and encourage feelings of heartache long after its last notes have rung out.
‘Modern Earth’ BY Landscapes is released on April 1st on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)