Samara Lubelski - "Tasting The Candy" (Parallel Suns)
Samara Lubelski has recorded groups as diverse as Double Leopards and Fiery Furnaces, and lent her multi-instrumental acumen to Sonora Pine, Hall Of Fame and the Tower Recordings since the early ’90s. Recently she played violin all over Thurston Moore’s Trees Outside The Academy, and this fall she tucked two tours with his band in between some dates with MV & EE’s Golden Road. She’s also mates with the krautrock collective Metabolismus; Parallel Suns, like most of her records, was made in Germany with them as well as in New York with good old friends like P.G. Six, Helen Rush, and Hamish Kilgour.
You can’t argue with her technical skills as an engineer and musician anymore than you can scoff at the depth of her address book. Parallel Suns is a highly accomplished work of retro-conscious pop that riffles through the same back pages of trippy ’60s pop and discontinued keyboard owner manuals that you’d find on Stereolab’s bookshelf. Lubelski’s high voice and Moritz Finkbeiner’s keyboards blow through “Tasting the Candy” like the Free Design doing the Association; layers of keys, strings, and glockenspiel waltz around “Meeting of the Sun” like a plastic ballerina turning in a snow globe.
I could go on, but all you’d get is a catalog of sounds, and that’s exactly what’s wrong with this record. It whiles away 31 minutes pleasantly enough, but even if you put the record on repeat all the afternoon, I doubt you’ll remember its tunes. They’re too ephemeral to stick. Mostly what registers are the sounds – Lubelski’s fiddle figures on “Born From the Tree” or low voice against the organ on “Spirit of the Age.” But even they fade when the record ends. Lubelski needs to come up with something more assertive if she aspires for her music to be anything more than agreeably ignorable.