Larin – “I Killed Your Dog” (Mexican Summer)
With her first two albums “L’Rain” and “Fatigue” from 2017 and 2021, Taja Cheek, known as L’Rain, has already made it to all of the music press’s annual best lists. Now the New Yorker wants to show her talent again: the latest issue is titled “I Killed Your Dog” and thematically reflects, among other things, the contradictions of an individual’s cruelty towards his loved ones.
Putting the audio parts together to form a collage results in a concept that is not easy to understand and only grows into a larger whole upon longer observation. What connects them, among other things, are the comic scenes between the compositions, which allow time to breathe between them. L’Rain introduces the album with a short clip like this: A fictional Fidelity commercial as a guide to the content. The piano attacks in the second track “Our Funeral” bite each other like a snake in the tail – it is not easy to determine the beginning and end of the harmonic sequence. The beginning of the record is associated with a focused gesture, which becomes more intense as it progresses.
Before Taja Cheek started making music as L’Rain, she played in several guitar rock lineups — and was reportedly also in an Iron Maiden cover band. Against this background, in the track “Pet Rock” it is as if she wanted to completely deconstruct the rock genre and rebuild it into something of her own. Distorted, interwoven guitar melodies like those of The Strokes lead from the reserved first part into the frenetic second, where the bass and drum fills make the dog growl again before he has to give up the spoon on “I Killed Your Dog.” .
Taja Cech loves contradiction in her lyrics and displays it in all of her albums so far. It remains unclear on the title track whether “I Killed Your Dog” is intended to be malicious or an expression of remorse. “I killed your dog, I’m your dog,” she sings in the final lines, harshly judging herself. It places high musical demands on its listeners. The song’s structure is reminiscent of a lesson in harmony: fast major and minor sequences create a rollercoaster of emotions, in keeping with the unambiguous message of the lyrics.
A world of contradictions
In addition to rock, folk and traditional music are other notable American influences. The vibrant guitar riff on “5 to 8 Hours a Day (WwwaG),” reminiscent of the sonic aesthetics of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest production, as well as the polyphonic vocal arrangements harken back to the roots of African American music. Confirming this impression, the canon-like, gospel-style skit of “Sometimes” leads into “rEMOTE,” which, with its gentle 808 drum beats and shimmering synth excursions, lays the bed to the lyrics’ core question: for how long? It takes a loved one to forget? “Maybe someday, maybe someday, maybe someday,” she repeats as if in prayer, “I will dust myself off, forget you ever came, and wallow in loneliness until I feel nothing.”
The complexity of “I Killed Your Dog” really comes through towards the end in tracks like “Knead Bee,” a self-referential follow-up to “Need Be” from their second album, and “Clumsy.” It remains difficult, if not impossible, to fully follow the musical events while a trained musician is immersed in the sound worlds of modern jazz bands such as Snarky Puppy or BadBadNotGood. “Music for Musicians” can be quite annoying at times, because it often loses touch with listening habits that are not always so wrong. L’Rain deftly navigates this impassable terrain and makes her album exciting even for the inexperienced, although the fast, catchy tunes are a long time coming. As if she knew it, the album closes with track closer Poppy number Four To The Floor and effortlessly pulls the listener out of L’Rain’s world of contradictions.
Release date: October 13, 2023
Tag: Mexican summer
“Explorer. Communicator. Music geek. Web buff. Social media nerd. Food fanatic.”