Western Vinyl Records.
SCQ Rating: 73%
You have to hand it to Lymbyc Systym; they know who they are. Three years after their last full-length Shutter Release, which merged bite-sized shades of post-rock with symphonic and electronic elements, the Arizona-based duo reconvene with the equally ear-pleasing Symbolyst. And while this new record sounds motivated by a deeper appreciation for the synthesizer, Symbolyst underlines the same polite middle-ground, lodged between a handful of indie genres, that risk diminishing the chances of anyone (besides the band) truly knowing Lymbyc Systym.
As with Shutter Release, this new record offers no obvious weakness that one could accuse of keeping its song-cycle from due greatness. Neither the Bell brothers’ kinetic approach nor their array of instrumental know-how can be viewed as flawed once you’ve heard some of these highlights; “Prairie School” comes off like the most adventurous Album Leaf track in years while the skittering, break-neck euphoria of “Falling Together” speaks for itself. “Dragon Year”, which leans especially toward the electronic medium, is perhaps the best track on offer. But despite a foundation of engaging instrumentals, Symbolyst feels partially at a loss.
Selections such as “Downtime” and “Condense” are elegantly assembled with serviceable twists but they reveal Lymbyc Systym’s true deficiency: tension. Without persuasive conviction, Symbolyst’s ten tracks progress like finely honed jams instead of a bolder artistic statement the brothers seem perfectly armed to create. Until then, these songs excel as engaging background music – tunes ideal to score your studies or recreational time with but resistant to any deeper presence. And that would be all well and good (I mean, not every record aims for that subjective dimension) but Symbolyst repeatedly hints at blossoming into something more purposeful.