Le Grotto’s “Bump the Lamp” Review

Olympia-based indie rock band, Le Grotto’s sophomore album Bump the Lamp takes a slightly different approach from their last year’s self-titled album with glimpses of fresh perspectives and progressions. Opening new layers of instrumentation beyond their traditional rock convention, featuring saxophone, xylophone, cello, organ and a handful of samples. Frontman Laith Scherer’s vocals are stronger than ever as Alek Gayton’s drumming and Will Willard’s bass playing express their talents equally as well. As the tracks move along, their signature sound stays intact while presenting a more raw and complex sound. Emotional themes of loss come strong on tracks like “People Die,” yet tastefully seguing onward towards better times.

An album that seems to blur together in colors never seen before, as if in a hazy smoke filled dream, Le Grotto teases with shorter tracks, a few at under a minute (“My Name’s _____” and “West Philly,” respectively). This almost seems to hint at future revisits of these recordings, or maybe it’s to emphasize the elasticity of their songs performed live. Surprisingly, this change doesn’t break the signal-chain vibe of Bump the Lamp. This release seems to suggest an insight into the countless days of recording, making new friends, losing old ones, playing shows and dreaming big. The album concludes with what some recall as their most energetic song “The PAG.” At barely under 25 minutes, this album makes its head right before their zig zag to the east coast tour, leaving audience members with an aesthetically Goosebumps-esque memento of their surf garage rock experience.

Bump the Lamp will be available September 1st, 2017 on Le Grotto’s Bandcamp. It will also be available on cassette through Olympia, WA label 2060.

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