On Lore City’s Alchemical Task the Portland duo embrace a haunting minimalism that, while stylistically consistent, never pushes mood over content. It’s been six years since they released their excellent debut Kill Your Dreams on Already Dead Records. Alchemical Task expands on themes present in Kill Your Dreams and pushes them into even darker territory. Tracking the trajectory of where we’ve been since then, a smoldering, barely contained-rage that haunts the corner of this record are an accurate summary of where we are. 

Composed of Laura Mariposa Williams (vocals, keyboard, guitar) and Eric Angelo Bessel (percussion, keyboard, guitar) Lore City explore darker hues of Art-Rock on Alchemical Task. The compositions are longer and slower and Laura Mariposa Williams’ keys take on a considerable shift towards the towering Goth of bands like Bauhaus and Clan of Xymox while building to a climax that opens everything up towards the sky – providing a proverbial way out by offering a way through. These moments recall reasons why we love Big Brave and Midwife so much.

Previous single from Lore City we’ve covered “Into Your Blue” is the best example of this hand up and way out. Built on ambient swells and a rhythmically complex drum section, Williams’ voice reaches for the rafters while tracks like “Beyond Done” glow and smolder like distant embers – expressing a deep sense of unease without raising above a whisper. Album closer “Don’t Be Afraid” rides on a pulsing bass line and some of blackest synths on this record while Williams’ voice takes on several shapes – a comforting beckoning to distant wail. Maybe the same thing?

As a statement about the record the duo offer the following: “Over there, plans were made to come here, knowing it’s an erasure. A divvying up. Alone and together. In the playing of the game, tied up in knots of forgetting. Yet the wheel always turns back ‘round, opening a remembrance. Archetypal processes maneuvering through infinite combinations, falling into lockstep. A transmutation of energy. The sounds of memory, the colors shimmering, the symbols appearing. Experiencing subjectivity through the daily dulling, we are the universal to-do list. The only way is through.” 

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