The great challenge for any instrumental band is to communicate the themes of their work to listeners with a paucity of words, usually confined to song titles, album names, or intermittent vocals. When it comes to math rock, the clean toned and frenetically tapped guitar often reigns supreme in many fan circles. But it begs the question: what is the breadth of its musical language; how much can it really communicate before it alls sound the same? Math rock is predominantly a guitar-lead genre, but what will happen when the products of its tools become saturated and all too familiar?
Perhaps this is why we have been so captivated by Lilly Legit, the solo project of Osnabrueck musician Benjamin Günther. Here, the artillery comprises piano, Wurlitzer, bass and programmed percussion. Guitars, the source point of many math rock tropes, are not in attendance. So, what makes Günther’s new album New Beginnings, Old Habits math rock?
The 7 track LP is undoubtedly a complex record, laden with irregular time signatures, colourful counterpoint, experimentation with melody and bizarrely punctuated song structures. It’s clean like jazz but lacks the prolonged improvisation or overtly technical discourses that might be typical of jazz pianists. Rather, Günther’s work is punchy like math rock, allowing listeners to absorb everything and not get lost in the musical blizzard.
This week, we are streaming New Beginnings, Old Habits in full, so that you can judge for yourself. Sans guitar, Günther brings the elements of math rock to less conventional instruments, and ultimately produces a charming and listenable record that speaks a good yarn.
You can pre-order ‘New Beginnings, Old Habits’ via Lilly Legit’s Bandcamp page. Pay wisely, spread the good cheer, stay true to your loved one.