Lay Llamas are a band who seem to be on a lot of people's minds at the moment. One gets the sense that they may even do a Goat and break through from their genre and draw a wider cross section of people to their music. Coming from the same label, the ever excellent Rocket Recordings, they trade in a sort of afro-beat-psych which may already sound familiar to the aforementioned Goat. That is where comparisons must end though as this lot are a much more relaxed affair and like to worm their way into your mind rather than bludgeon it with instant beats and wailing vocals.
Ostro is the fruit of their work so far and as far as it goes, it's not a bad piece of work. It's an album which can be both sublime and also sink into boring territory and as such takes a little patience to get through. This is not a slight on the music though which is immediate and already sounds familiar, it just sort of loses it's way sometimes.
The first half is absolutely tremendous. The ambient opener 'Ancient People of the Stars' gives way to the brilliant 'We Are You' which opens with whale noises and ends with a cult like chant which seems to go on forever. It's audacious and highlights a band who are not afraid to experiment.
After this the third track 'The Lay Llamas' seems a bit jarring as it ups the beat a bit but this then settles into the sublime 'Desert of Lost Souls' which completes a rather triumphant opening. Unfortunately the music starts to sag a bit now as Lay Llamas seem to lose their way a bit.
Thankfully this doesn't last too long and 'Something Wrong' lifts the malaise with it's mantra. 'In Search of Plants' then gets all folklike and introduces flutes which are a welcome break from the ambient drone sounds that envelop the majority of the album whilst final track 'Voices Call' settles us right back down.
Lay Llamas have an interesting future in front of them and once they regain in some of their excesses they may find themselves at the forefront of the psych scene. Their slight failings of drifting off into ambient structures which never really go anywhere need to be tempered with a bit more upbeat stuff and then they are on to classic album territory. That said, Ostro is a stunning piece of work at times and as a starter we can be grateful that we have a band willing to try something like this.