Until now, Nils Martin Larsen has been chiefly known as a member of Norwegian post-rock collective Jaga Jazzist, with whom he played keyboards from the age of eighteen. Yet he always wanted to spread his wings further as evinced by his new identity as Lama. Although ‘Look What You Made Us Do’ features a number of credited musicians, as his MySpace site declares “Lama is Nils Martin Larsen”.
‘Beginning’ is a dramatic introduction with only the shrill Sigur Ros style cries to stop it being an instrumental. There is no doubt about the best song here though. Taking its cues from Hope Of The States’ wondrous ‘Black Dollar Bills’, in the shape of ‘Then You’ll See’ Lama have a post-rock anthem in-waiting. It’s a great song which builds from the sensitive vocal of Larsen into a full-blown epic that sounds angsty and hopeful all at once. Nothing is quite as memorable as this moment but that’s not to say it’s an average album, merely one with a killer single and several strong supporting tracks.
‘Wake Up Call’ impresses with intense chatting and percussion to match and ‘Now Will You Remember Me’ is resplendent with delightful warm harmonies. Meanwhile, the meandering ‘Fighting’ features nods to Larsen’s erstwhile employers and it’s easy to imagine ‘Came Through Stone To Get Here’ and the equally stirring ‘Ending’ soundtracking a heroic sporting achievement in the future.
‘Look What You Made Us Do’ is a fine record, full of the kind of wintry atmospheres that Scandinavian acts have turned into a fine art over the last decade. Whether that makes Larsen an artist who has jumped on the bandwagon a little late is a debatable point but it’s nice to here this style of music performed well again nevertheless.
Sigur Ros, Hope Of The States, Do Make Say Think