Few albums can clock in at under 40 minutes and leave a great impact on the listener. Often an album so sparse leaves either little staying power or just isn’t good enough. For notable exceptions to this rule, see Wire’s Pink Flag, Dream Wife’s eponymous debut, Mourn’s Ha Ha He, and Lylo’s Post Era. For what the Glaswegian 5-piece lack in overall popularity (just over 1,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, criminally) they more than make up for in quality, releasing a January gem that, if every album can reach the same standards as Post Era has set, certainly bodes well for 2018 as a musical year after the disappointment of 2017.
The album opens with the spaced-out, chilled ‘Everything’s Cool’, a lovely cut of meandering indie a la Tame Impala. Except with a saxophone. It can only be described as lounging lusciously, with the bass driving the song along with the snapping drums. Keys are interspersed with the horns, creating a swirling effect – it feels like going down the plughole in a warm bath. In the best way possible. ‘Turn My Jacket’ is more urgent and demanding, with the drums going at a faster tempo, and even a hint of paranoia in the stabs of guitar with the lyric “I will escape you” resonating. The false stop adds to this feeling of nervousness and uncertainty, as the sounds build and layer over the top of the drums, the sax wailing above it all. It sounds like the second side of The Stooges Fun House met Sacred Paws somewhere in the middle. Two songs in – a third of the way through the album already, more’s the pity.
‘Submerge’ is spaced out, with the guitar wobbling about stoned over a floor of keys and hi hat hits. It’s melancholic, with the sax playing a slow blues tune over the soup of instruments. So far, the album is much like being drunk in a warm bath, or listening to Funkadelic with the lights off. It’s short but sweet. ‘You Have Your Fathers Eyes’ clocks in as the first song above four minutes, and it’s a beauty. The chorus has a wonderful drop-out hook for you to throw your head back to, and after the insistent drums and shocks of guitar in the verse it’s a brilliant catharsis. Trust me when I say it feels like two minutes rather than four. ‘It’s Good To Know Your Man’ is much in the same vein, trippy indie pop, with the saxophone blaring boldly.
‘Yeah Boy’, a live favourite of the band, comes next, and it’s back to being brief for the good ship Lylo, with this three minute wonder. The reverberating guitars, choppy bassline and strange keys give the song a wobbling, shimmering quality, almost like a celestial skein. Then it picks up the pace, goes into warp, then comes back to the familiar course. It’s a lovely, messed-up song. Then comes the closer – ‘One’. This comes as close to a 90’s Britpop hit as Lylo will sail, and even then they end up stumbling on America rather than India. Think ‘Roses in the Hospital’ but with horns and pedals, being performed while high. There’s a uniformity about it despite that description, a conventionality – the instruments seem to all be in harmony and the saxophone is the only one that’s roaming across the music like a gazelle on the Savannah. In common with the rest of the album, what the lyrics are specifically about is anyone’s guess, with the refrain, “One is just a number no-one cares about” suggesting very little in terms of what lies beneath the surface. Your guess is as good as mine.
‘Post Era’ is wonderful. It’s stimulating for the mind but relaxing for the soul, if you’ll excuse my slight hyperbole. Indie pop has been much maligned for its reliance on familiar formulae which, stuffed into the same album again and again, has been about as appetising as vegan cheese substitutes at a traditional French dairy festival. Lylo have made the genre exciting, and their lack of a large following more than anything else proves that music isn’t a meritocracy. A shame: if it were, Lylo would be top of the indie pile.
Words by Gabriel Rutherford