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Lawrence English - Lonely Women’s Club

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Artist: Lawrence English

Album: Lonely Women’s Club

Label: Important

Review date: May. 29, 2013

It’s not often that childbirth causes a spike in productivity for new parents. For artists, though, the arrival of a new little human can be topical fodder for new work. Al Jarnow’s film Jesse: The First Year documents a future Yo La Tengo biographer’s first 12 months of development, and given Nicholson Baker’s semi-autobiographical bent, one can assume that a good bit of Room Temperature was inspired during the sort of feeding-time reveries that his protagonist describes.

Lawrence English’s Lonely Women’s Club isn’t strictly about his daughter, but she’s still the reason the record exists, as it was recorded between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., hours that English might’ve been asleep were it not for the new little bundle of joy. Likely out of necessity, the late night lullabies that make up the album are quiet and unfussy, their pointedly peaceful sound a respite from the otherwise hectic state of being in which new parents so often find themselves.

Lonely Women’s Club consists of two side-long slow burners, a pair of organ drones that float along for 20 minutes apiece with only subtle change. The shifts in the sound happen at almost beyond perception, or maybe I’m just lulled into a such a relaxed state that I’m missing them. Only by skipping around in the tracks do their changes become apparent, and going back to find the genesis of the transitions is often a fruitless endeavor. What’s far more apparent on Lonely Women’s Club is what stays the same.

In “Cigarette Burns,” the organ generates a foggy backdrop for the distorted, swirling overtones that spin endlessly in the track’s foreground. “Lonely Women’s Club” sounds more characteristically like the output of an organ, its own aural illusions taking the form of slow undulations that underpin the slow motion changes in the drone’s pitch. It’s all a rather comfortable sound to turn up and wrap around oneself, even if it doesn’t make for the most stimulating of albums.

It’s understandable that an overwhelmingly busy and undeniably novel stage in this new parent’s life resulted in music that’s simple and unidirectional. English probably didn’t have the time or mindspace to create a magnum opus, so while the album doesn’t blow my mind, it’s hard for me to fault the guy. The most important thing about this music happened long before it ever hit Important’s release queue, or any listener’s ears. The creation of Lonely Women’s Club was a way in which a new father could pass time with his daughter, a way to keep Lawrence English’s own little woman company, so her fitful nights weren’t spent in the fashion the album’s title implies.

By Adam Strohm

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