LXVE II – Brandon Can’t Dance


a2589785267_16LXVE II, the latest collection of icy, homespun electronic oddities from Brandon Can’t Dance finds the loop master upping his game considerably while covering an immense amount of sonic ground in the process. Fans of the moniker belonging to Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania’s Brandon Ayres, who is also one half of locally renowned but criminally underrated duo Rasputin’s Secret Police, know to expect the unexpected. That rings true on his newest effort as he employs his usual assortment of sounds and wide variety of instrumentation to create a unique sonic world for each of the 24 songs on the double album.

Ayres works in dualities, none more obvious and challenging than his voice, which can be equal parts comforting and alienating. This is also true of the mixed bag of styles and sounds and various tricks that he has at his disposal. Just as a melody in a track catches your ear, Ayres wastes no time in piercing your ear drums with a barrage of noise and electronic effects. For instance the late night, club ready synth leads of “Mascara” unexpectedly give way to the lilting fingerpicked acoustic guitar and longing vocals of the beautiful “Forgot How to Cry” until the appropriately titled barrage of distorted synth noise detour “Scared you! ;)” abruptly changes the album’s course once again. His songs are often based around a single melody, riff, or drum machine beat with repeated lyrics, while some are more expansive, as Ayres has also shown a penchant for toying with atmosphere in the short form on headier tracks like the opener “17,” showcasing just how eclectic his music is.

Despite the apparent lack of cohesion found here, the wide variety of things that each track has to offer can make you forget that, as the title suggests, this is not necessarily meant to be an album in that sense, but a collection of songs from a variety of perspectives. However, this is not a knock, as despite the jumbled and sometimes jarring structure, it is endlessly charming and if there is one thing that is consistent, it’s the quality. Many of the songs are humorous in nature and some call back to his previous works, effectively combining his playful wit with some of his most focused and well produced songs to date. LXVE II represents a huge leap forward for Ayres and is a sign that he’s beginning to focus on the project more, leaving reason to believe that he will continue to get better. LXVE II can be purchased on CD and cassette through his Facebook page.

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