Lontalius_CaLH_Mirror
Here’s day 7 of my 31 days of May New Zealand Music month Bandcamp purchase marathon. I actually bought this back in February… but if I hadn’t already I would’ve today, OK?

Lontalius is the music identity for a shy 16 year old Wellington school kid. I didn’t believe that at first, particularly as it was the 7th EP release on Bandcamp since 2010. But I’ve met ‘Lontalius’ now, and saw him play live in the ‘Renegade Room’ at Camp a Low Hum back in February, so I can attest to his age (though maybe he’s all of 17 by now?).

Once you work your way past the grainy lo-fi of these recordings you will hopefully discover these are some powerful and extraordinary pop songs. ‘Whisper’ – my favourite here – is full of heart-crushing melodic beauty.

It’s the sort of song I can imagine on an early Sparklehorse or Neutral Milk Hotel album and all the better for the fuzzorama production, the low-key resignation of its vocal delivery and 1 minute, 45 second economy.

The other standout song in this consistently excellent 11 minute 6-song collection is ‘The Same (Drum Version)’.

Listen carefully for the delicate pizzicato arrangement in the background of the fuzz-fog to hear what I mean. It reminds me of the sort of arrangement The Blue Nile would add to a song (after a few obsessive-compulsive years in the studio). As indeed does the pervading sense of sweet melancholy.

What sets these songs apart for me is that elegant arrangement of simple instrument parts and the equally understated vocal delivery that conveys so much from so little. Sure you need some tolerance for a bit of ‘lo-fi’ distress to relate to this. To my ear though, this is well crafted bedroom pop of the highest order.

It’s understandable that we tend to focus on a carefully packaged and marketed bedroom pop eccentric from overseas like Ariel Pink and overlook greater potential talent in our own back yard. But with Bandcamp (and Soundcloud) as a facilitator it is now a bit easier to discover it amongst us if we take the time to explore.

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