Lo-Fang: Blue Film (4AD) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, November 29th, 2020  


Blue Film


Apr 16, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Lo-Fang tries to do too much on his debut album, Blue Film. The project of classically trained multi-instrumentalist cum co-producer Matthew Hemerlein, Blue Film packs in every musical tendency and ability he has. Hemerlein has a moment of boy-band brilliance on the twinkling album opener, "Look Away," which is so slick it sounds manufactured. Partway through, however, the inclusion of a banjo changes the tone and the drive of the song. At this point a new track would have been in order, but as is the case with many of Hemerlein's compositions, they just keep going.

Lots of personas are tried on Blue Film. He starts with soul-searching singer/songwriter on "Confusing Happiness" and "Boris"where, with twangy guitar plucks and husky whispered vocals, Hemerlein sounds identical to Fink. His register changes to a falsetto on "When We're Fire," and takes another turn into attempted R&B on "Animal Urges" and "Permutations."

Hemerlein can get carried away with his classical tendencies. This happens repeatedly, such as on the title track and "#88." Overdoing the sweeping strings doesn't mask the fact that there is very little song to work with. Case in point: "Light Year" hobbles along holding onto anything it can. The most confusing moment on Blue Film is Hemerlein's ambient, tear-jerking cover of Grease's explosive closing number, "You're The One That I Want." After hearing that, you're either going to love him or hate him. (www.lo-fang.com)

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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