Lymbyc Systym

Western Vinyl Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


If you're like me, most of the time instrumental music winds up being relegated to background noise, something to put on when I'm doing the dishes. Maybe if I had an intimate knowledge of playing instruments and chord progressions it might be easier for me to appreciate vocal-less music, but as it stands, other than Explosions In The Sky and Maserati, I'm a hard sell on this one. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But every now and then, something comes along that perks my ears up. This time, it's the brother duo of Lymbyc Systym and their third album Symbolyst. Recorded over three years while Michael and Jared lived on opposites of the world (Brooklyn and Japan), through the convenience of sending files, the two brought their vast influences and highly technical songwriting together for a very melodic and interesting listen of instrumental rock.

Having been playing together for two decades, the brothers work very efficiently, feeding off each other’s strengths. While their earlier work was a bit darker in scope, here we have a more upbeat, optimistic sounding Lymbyc Systym. The lead off track “Prairie School” is a testament to this idea, a chipper, radiant pop song with fast paced melodica.

Though the first few tracks move by with quick tempos and head bobbin' rhythms, thing slow down with “Downtime.” While it's definitely not as kinetic as the tracks before it, it's still a charged tune with a lot of timeless ideas present. The pair shows their eclectic side on “Nightfall” with its subtle jazz feel, while “Eyes Forward” plugs in a classical backdrop with a string section. With “Falling Together” the band outdoes themselves, blending synth, hip-hop beats, pop moments, and even quaint pianos.

Though their rich harmonies and universal pop appeal sound like some of their cohorts, there are still plenty of unique ideas to be found on this disc that surpass current instrumental trends. The duo focuses on complicated forms of electronic music mixed with sonic, original post-rock flavoring with great results here from beginning to end. This is a fantastic band that has made instrumentals go beyond just dishwashing music in my house.

Rating: A-

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