Sad Eyed Lemurs - Yante

8 songs
48:53 minutes
***** ****


There are times when I am really scared. You know the feeling: being lost in the woods, running out of gas in the middle of nowhere or getting an envelope with nearly twenty CDs by Sad Eyed Lemurs. Yesterday morning I checked them all out, and after listening in on 16 (!) albums Mert Basaran recorded between 2000 and 2001 (and that's more than ten hours of experimental music), I found a also a new album in the heap. I don't want to talk much about his bout of hyperactivity from four years back, because there's not much we haven't heard from SEL in the past, except that this time there is a lot of redundancy.

But Yante is a whole different story. Mert Basaran must have finally found some friends who want to play music with him, as this is SEL's first record with an actual band. Next to Basaran playing guitar and keyboards, he has also recruited a drummer, two bass players and a very charismatic female vocalist. Nilüfer Ormanli's voice is very commanding, ranging from ballad melancholia to deep gothic wails and also more experimental operatic techniques. With two bass player, you have to expect a very deep sound. In fact this is not the Sad Eyed Lemurs we are used to. While still being experimental, the context of a band sets them into a more rock territory. The opener comes with the well known subdued guitar we have become accustomed to, backed by the maybe a bit reluctant rhythm section. Keyboards sounds from piano to more orchestral arrangements add a depth that is emphasized by the enraptured vocals that will send a shiver down your spine. The gothic influence is omnipresent, reminding of a basement Siouxsie and the Banshees, with a very direct production, setting it far away from sterile Eighties new Romanticism.

The "pièce de résistance" is the closing seventeen and a half minute long epic where Nilüfer Ormanli can show the whole width of her vocal range, sounding in the end like Irene Papas did on the legendary 666 album from Aphrodite's Child back in the early Seventies.

Yante is a great album, not always as focused as you may expect in a rock setting, but the combination of composed material and free instrumentation achieves a perfect harmony, making this a must-have for every experimental rock fan. Sad Eyed Lemurs, who owe their name from a quite in William Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, now also have a website where you can download a couple of their songs.

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