Already acknowledged as thrilling live performers and folk music pioneers, Lau arrive at a new creative peak with Midnight and Closedown. The band’s 12-year recording career is resplendent with unexpected collaborations, accolades and innovative ideas. The sound of Lau in 2019 is perhaps closer to late period Beatles than to the traditional tunes and ballads of their 2007 debut Lightweights and Gentlemen. And yet the new album’s closing track ‘Riad’ marks a full circle, stripping the line up back to bare acoustic instruments.
Midnight and Closedown is Lau’s first new music since 2015’s The Bell That Never Rang ( The Guardian; The Herald’s Album of The Year). Producer John Parish, widely celebrated for his recordings and collaborations with P.J Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse, This Is The Kit, Aldous Harding, Rokia Traore, M. Ward, Giant Sand and many more, has captured the essence of Lau’s song writing: tender, bewitching and mournful, uplifting, experimental and political. These are new sounds still rooted in the traditional music that brought together the UK’s three finest folk artists.
‘Lau. Cool band. Don't sound like anybody else. I could describe the instrumentation : treated fiddle, guitar and rich baritone voice, an electronic ship in a bottle. A beautiful set of songs and instrumentals. In touch with their roots but not bound by them’.
(John Parish, October 2018)
Lau have pushed at the boundaries of modern folk music with each successive release, curation and concert tour. And now comes this bold, progressive new statement. Reading between the lines here – the enigmatic album title, the quotes from the band members below – could suggest that the new album is Lau’s swansong. But Midnight and Closedown, Lau’s finest artistic statement to date, could equally prove to be the opening of a brave new chapter.