As far as descriptions go, this was damn-near reflexive. With one glance at Landlady’s latest cover art, my mind whirred with sensory overstimulation; it was a lavish, brightly colored, geometric portrait with a somewhat Dia-de-los-Muertos aesthetic, hypnotically animated. And as I made my way through the twelve tracks that comprise The World Is A Loud Place, I found that each song was paired with its own stunning visuals. These weren’t just adornments, they were reflections of Landlady’s rich sonic arrangements.
The Brooklyn-based quintet enlisted artist Jesse Jacobs to immerse us in the ornate landscape that is their latest LP. And, as usual, they’ve stretched the confines of genre with a little funk accented by a string section, and a few jazz fundamentals draped under a psychedelic haze. Perhaps that’s why the band has succinctly described their sound as “surprise.”
For those that may be unfamiliar, at the center of the spinning color wheel that is Landlady we have Adam Schatz, a musical chameleon who floats between instruments, bands, and musical styles with virtuosic ease. And, of course, he’s in good company. Nearly all his bandmates lend their voices and know their way around more than one instrument, and this passion for music is palpable in every note.
The song “Cadaver” opens with a cloud of reverb, their guitar lines becoming frayed with a fuzz that threatens to deteriorate into a flatline. But then it bursts into a melody that bops along with a sunny tint, and we’re tethered to Schatz's unique tone, “Can’t be accused of resting your eyes ... Cadaver how can I know you for sure?”
As Schatz dives deeper into the lyrics, his voice starts to catch mid-word as if he were trying to memorize the rhyme, his pitch rising and falling ever so slightly in tightly-packed peaks and valleys. “Dotted line teach me how you’re organized,” he sings, methodically pouring over the metaphorical cadaver for clues on life, hoping these tiny facts will spark a realization—or, as his recurring line invokes, “Oh, come alive.”
Then there’s the title track, which begins with a piano accompaniment and a slightly subdued, throaty timbre from Schatz. It’s a song that feels like warped jazz, the tang of an organ melody accompanied by quick interjections of seemingly improvised percussion—which is not to imply any sort of sloppiness. Landlady are acutely aware of what they’re building into: a pleasing cacophony, a free-for-all, a multi-sensory shot to our nervous system. It’s a song that realizes the album's titular theme, but Landlady have found their own frequency within it. Their songs are intricate and eclectic, and have a way of canceling out the background noise of our day-to-day.