The incomplete triangle’s three sides face a reflective horizon.
Its three-sided face disappears into a black mirror.
You can oftentimes only see the rope that ties it together.
– Dascha Mas, Considering Important Geometry
Or so says the packaging for Lansing-Dreiden’s incredible debut album, The Incomplete Triangle,
a title that may be as much a riddle as the ‘band’ itself. Not just musicians, but also an art collective, a publishing house, and a ‘company that sees no distinction between art and commerce – or anything else,’ Lansing-Dreiden absolutely thrill without abandon across twelve tracks spanning three apparent sides and discrete styles. Highly conceptual, and one of the finest albums released yet this year.
The three album sections aren’t so different as to require separate listening sessions, however. Though the styles alter, the quality never wavers – and our attention and intrigue are piqued during every second of the triptych.
Side One: ‘Metal on a Gun,’ ‘The Eternal Lie,’ ‘An Uncut Diamond,’ ‘The Advancing Flags’
The first side of The Incomplete Triangle
is devoted to metal, rock, and other such elements. And, likewise, it’s here that the hardest moments of the album reside. A free-of-irony metal crunch (‘The Advancing Flags’), an inviting 2/2 punk signature (‘An Uncut Diamond’), every song abounds with soaring pop melodies and sensibilities. The placement of every vocal, every word, every note is unquestionably good; intense, intricate musical arrangement has gone into these four tracks, and you can hear it. Powerful, striking.
Side Two: ‘The Missing Message,’ ‘I Keep Everything,’ ‘Laid in Stone,’ ‘An Effect of the Night’
Enter now the ambient, dreamier side of Lansing-Dreiden. Here we see classic post-punk/gothic overtones (‘The Missing Message’), unmatched by many of our recent imitators. A subtle chord countermelody intermingles in a stunning fashion with the rhythm/bass lines. Wrenching ambience arrives as well (‘I Keep Everything,’ ‘An Effect of the Night’), in nothing but beauty. Here, too, the finest moment on the album, ‘Laid in Stone,’ features inventive ohh-wah-wah backup vocals and a twisted, yet structured lead-guitar line that must be heard to fully understand the levels of subtlety explored.
Side Three: ‘Glass Corridor,’ ‘I.C.U.,’ ‘Disenchanted,’ ‘Desert Lights’
Pulsing into the third side is an ’80s electronic dance revue. Guitar/drum machine/keyboard interplay builds up, breaks down, transforms. Nobody can write music quite like this, not this well anyway. Casually referencing the most well-loved of ’80s artists – New Order (‘I.C.U.’), Pet Shop Boys (‘Disenchanted’) – Lansing-Dreiden prove, beyond anyone’s doubt, that they’re capable of anything, truly anything. Straight though the album closer, ‘Desert Lights,’ with its pure, crisp vocal lines and pounding beat, we’re transported by an album, perhaps more than ever before. They’ve taken us on a journey, and we’re never coming back to where we were before.