Lorenzo Goetz: Allure (Innocent Words Records)

Turns out the song is about two cult members trying to reach a UFO landing in Toronto, but getting waylaid by another cult leader. Endearing stuff, for sure.

Lorenzo Goetz is a four-piece band from Champaign who have just released a six-song mini-album entitled Allure. It’s quite a surprising little disc, actually. Someone on their label’s Web site, www.innocentwords.com, is quoted as saying they’re like “the Beatles meet Beck.” That might be a bit over the top, but there is indeed a Beck-like eclecticism at work.

The quartet—Larry Gates on guitars/vocals, Josh Miethe on guitars/backing vocals, Eric Fisher on bass, and Kevin Colravy on drums—are almost in that league with funksnappy tracks like “Serenade,” which boasts a very cool arrangement; the psychedelic “Need Words Now,” distinguished by Fisher’s steady bass playing, a musical bit that sounds like a sitar (even though none is credited on the sleeve), and a superior mix that makes each element, including Gates’ relaxed vocals, stand out; and the charming Afro-reggae stylings of “Mesh,” on which the band aim for a curious hybrid sound and pull it off brilliantly.

Gates sounds like a very confident young man, much more concerned with making appealing music than serving his own ego, like too many bands do early in their career. He leaves plenty of space in each song for the other players to be heard, and they are, impressively so. The band even succeeds in pulling off a Spanish-flavored oddity called “Never Look Directly Into a Disco Ball,” which begins with someone whistling, leisurely coasts on the warmth of Gates’ smooth vocals and strummed flamenco-style chords, and ends with wacky lyrics like “Though we never found a spaceship/We found a kind man dressed in white/He took us in and made us pancakes/Which we chased with pills and red wine,” sung in unison by the band and a small choir. Turns out the song is about two cult members trying to reach a UFO landing in Toronto, but getting waylaid by another cult leader. Endearing stuff, for sure.

Brett Sanderson is credited as recording, mixing, and mastering four of the tracks while Josh Miethe mixed that last track and “Need Words Now.” It’s worth mentioning these things sometimes because the mix/mastering element of a record can make it or break it, and in this case both men should take a bow, ’cause they’ve done an exemplary job. Lorenzo Goetz are at work on a full-length, and on the strength of this debut, there’s every reason to believe it’ll be a piece of work to look forward to. Great job, lads—ya done yourselves proud!

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