On Monday 1st July London quartet LANDSHAPES will releases their debut album Rambutan on Bella Union Records. an album of dynamic composition and full of a sense of melody, all meticulously refined in a dingy rehearsal space. If you'd like to cover this record then follow the link below.
Landshapes will celebrate the release of Rambutan with a special headline show at Corsica Studios this week, if you, or any writers, would like to go along to this just holler. Details below.
In a fickle, hyper-speed age of 'here today, gone tomorrow', taking one's time to evolve seems a luxury. But Landshapes did just that. "We needed time to work things out...we've been brewing I suppose..." explains Luisa.
As their previous incarnation Lulu and the Lampshades, they're probably best known for the viral cup song You're Gonna Miss Me - over 3 million hits on youtube and counting - but in the ensuing period they've undergone a considerable musical metamorphosis.
They have learnt and grown together, four distinctive personalities jostling and pulling, each with their own set of influences and sensibilities - an unlikely alchemy which comes together and makes sense. Broad brushstrokes, big sounds and mournful melodies forged a new soundscape, so that when a typo accidentally billed them as 'Landshapes' it seemed an appropriate description for an altogether new sound, and an altogether new band.
Landshapes is the sound of four people in a dingy practice room, building on accidents, listening over and reworking obsessively until every band member is satisfied. An unconventional and serendipitous aprocess it might be, but it's crucial to Landshapes overall sound.
Their debut album Rambutan - the name chosen "not so much after the fruit but for the sound the word makes" and produced by Ash Workman is a distillation of songs old and new, re-worked and fine tuned with a deft precision.
Their unorthodox approach to songwriting is writ large across the ten tracks. Impasse "the oldest song on the record was a tinkery ukulele thing" that became something "bigger and better with the band"; Threads "a lot of ideas that came together in the practice room, has the feel of different parts interjecting like a conversation" and Racehorses "a truculent song" that was to become one of their favourites after Heloise and Jemma developed a new bass and guitar part. Demons acts as a marker of their evolution - "recorded as Lulu And The Lampshades, it felt closer to the sound we were developing and tracks that change in the way it sounds and how we worked together as a band."
Forthcoming single Insomniacs Club "is cursed" according to the band. "Anyone who gets involved with it gets insomnia. The guy making the video hasn't slept for days, true story."
Landshapes take on another dimension in a live setting. With drummer Dan the only constant, multi instrumentalists Luisa, Heloise and Jemma shift seamlessly from one song to the next swapping instruments and vocals with a fluid dexterity. This synchronicity - and their evolution as a band - was helped by some intensive touring under their previous moniker. Weeks spent in each other's company, experiencing each other's music and film selections, means - explains Dan - that "you start to absorb what you like and dislike, individually and collectively. Figuring out which direction you're heading in via shared experience and foggy disparate influences. I think we're still fine tuning that direction - and that's good.
Landshapes are Dan Blackett (drums, vocals), Luisa Gerstein (ukelele, vocals), Heloise Tunstall-Behrens (bass, ukelele, vocals, violin), Jemma Freeman (guitar, vocals).