Never having heard of Lavinia, this was one of those rare CDs that you purchase blindly and, for some undefined reason, you know you’re going to dig on it. I saw the minimalist album cover, flipped the case over, read the tracklist, and could imagine exactly what it sounded like. I decided that There is Light Between Us was for me. When I got home and gave it a listen, guess what? I was right. It sounded exactly like I imagined.
While other reviewers try to peg this album as some kind of indie shoegaze jam laced with Black Sabbath moments, I see it in a more post-metal / doom light. I suppose it’s coming from two different viewpoints and meeting in the middle, but this five song EP invokes something more towards Callisto, Isis (post-Oceanic), Jesu, and Hyatari’s second album without the drone. Lavinia could possibly be described as a more subtle, latter-day Neurosis. Spacious, tribal, dynamic, menacing yet fragile, beautiful yet haunting, empty yet hopeful, it’s strangely yin and yang at the same time. Most of these kind of bands switch from quiet to loud, but Lavinia has found a way to glue both together at the same time. The vocal approach of Nate Schumaker has an almost light and feminine aspect to it, which is a wonderful development from the monotonous roar of say, Cult of Luna.
Speaking of vocals, I’m happy that Lavinia has decided to incorporate lyrics and vocals into their approach. I feel that a lot of similar groups that are solely instrumental feel the need to get too ‘proggy’ as an attempt to keep the music interesting. I find that vocals give a band a clearer identity, and lyrics help to paint a picture, however minimal.
This is the kind of music you want to listen to in a darkened room, relaxed, and open. You should be willing to listen from start to finish, receptive to the ebb and flow, ready to be taken on a journey across a sometimes gentle, sometimes violent ocean of sound. There is no ‘best song’ or single. Each composition is simply a voyage to experience, floating, crashing, and multi-dimensional.
For me, There is Light Between Us was a quiet sleeper hit from a brand new band I was not familiar with, from a record label I had never heard of, and was very pleasantly surprised. I’m glad I went with my instincts and sprang for it. Lucky for you, there’s no need to dig through the bins to grab this hidden gem.