On his first proper solo album, Fabrizio Modonese Polumbo of Larsen forgoes the towering guitar structures of that group’s last effort, Play. Instead, Polumbo essays a more searching, low-key approach, with somewhat mixed results. While full of persuasive moments, the album lacks the powerful dynamics that made Play so memorable.
The standout track is “Love Song,” presented in two versions bookending the set. As an opener, it’s a slow aggregation of bass and synth, along with an inspired use of bells and cymbals. Energized by frequent stereo panning, the piece throbs and pulses with a lovely, unforced elegance. Reprised at the end, it becomes a vortex of infernal activity, with the chiming bells and sinister drones coalescing into a very strange kind of love song.
The rest of the album never quite reaches the same heights. “Landscape #1” is a pleasant, carefully layered accretion of sonic detail, with luminous harmonium waveforms gradually joined by an unfussy synth melody. It’s followed by “Ghosts Are Made of DNA,” a lengthy and somewhat inert slice of drone-based abstraction that’s lightened by warped guitar and percussion effects towards the end. Rounding out the set are “Shiny Camels & Rising Anacondas,” on which a slipping guitar riff makes itself comfortable amid shiny metallic textures, and an ill-advised cover of Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With U” that reinterprets the song as a dark folk trip, adding its own layer of inconsequentiality through Polumbo’s drained vocals and limp guitar work.