Lyonnais, “Hyperblues”

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Having fun with the anxiety of the image.

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Amelia Pitcherella | April 27, 2016

Trying to track the trajectory of Atlanta’s Lyonnais would be a waste of your time. The band—Farbod Kokabi and Farzad Moghaddam, co-founders of the wide-spanning label Geographic North, alongside TJ Blake of Lotus Plaza and Lee Tesche of Algiers—have committed to a restless shapeshifting in sound. On their debut LP they wove shadowy and alarming slow-burners that evoked mid-80s goth acts as much as they did shoegaze and drone. Their new sophomore full-length Anatomy of the Image keeps with this bent toward constant sonic redesign, proving excitingly hard to parse. “Hyperblues” finds them landing in a breezy, reverb-soaked dream-pop field that’s a welcome contrast to the six-minute drone pulse of the album’s opener.

This video is a natural complement to the title of the album—the band splices shots of themselves and the city and themselves in the city together so as to convey the image as a living thing, something with internal workings. There are diptychs that reveal the bleed of different angles of the city into one another, and mostly the image welds perfectly with the music—which makes for an experience sometimes deeply satisfying, often dizzying. “Desertion … or desire?” the video asks. “Aesthetics” is quickly appended with “of hysteria.” These verbal blips are vague enough that you can extract whatever you want or need from them, which may be what Lyonnais are getting at. They seem to be playing with the idea of a society consumed by visuals and the anxiety that can be brought to bear when you spend too long surrounded by the image, wanting to inject concrete meaning into something that’s inherently abstract. But all theorizing aside, the video’s just fun to watch—it helps that the melody’s so irresistible against the twanging guitars and clap of the drum machine.

Anatomy of the Image is out now on Geographic North.

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