The tenderness in which Lydia couches their entire “This December” is really similar to that of Boys Night Out during their “Trainwreck” album. Dual vocals are the norm, with both a male and female creating something that is extraordinarily full. The spirited vocals of Evan are reminiscent of both Chris Carrabba and Conor Oberst, while Maria’s sound like a mixture of both Boys Night Out and The Anniversary’s vocalists. Tracks are in no way short; while there are two songs here that are at about three minutes, there are quite a few tracks that top five minutes. The band is competent enough in both arranging and playing their music that these minutes slip by; the beauty of their sound acts as a Siren’s voice.
At fifty minutes, one may think that the band could fall into some form of a rut. Each of the songs on “This December” brings something completely new into Lydia’s repertory, whether it be the intense arrangements of “A Story For Supper”. “A Story For Supper” has a compelling stop-start that increases the tension that the track has; when Evan’s vocals move into a whisper, this bipolar track moves onto a completely new sound that will titillate. Throughout tracks like “Laugh Before You Grin” , Lydia put layer of layer of vocals over a Spartan (but not too much so) arrangements. The piano/drum dynamic is not exploited much in current music, but works here. The authority given by the drums melds perfectly with the tender sounds given the piano and strings. What results during tracks like “Laugh Before You Grin” is something not quite unlike an ocean crashing against the beach; Lydia’s music ebbs and flows with each breaker. Coming to a climax with a rapidly-increasing chaos, Lydia move back into a barely-audible acoustic line that rapidly attains a fury even in its timid-sounding state.
Aside from bands that switch off completely, there are few instances of acts that work well with three vocalists. Lydia is the perfect example on how to do it, as they bring to an already-complex (in terms of instrumental interaction) disc another layer of delicious difficulty. Perhaps the best kept secret of 2005 is Lydia, with plinking pianos meshing along melodramatic vocals to achieve incredibly memorable music. The highest peak on this ginormous mountain has to be the martial drum-led “December”, which has some of the most unlikely dance beats ever. Well worth any price.
Top Tracks: December, Always Move Fast
Lydia – This December; It’s One More And I’m Free / 2005 Hour Zero / 10 Tracks / http://www.lydiamusic.com / http://www.hourmusic.com / Reviewed 03 December 2005