“Les Lekin”? Well, that had me confused from the start. Say the name with a Gallic accent, and it’s “Les Lekin”, an existentialist philosophical movement of fey Gauloise smoking intellectuals; pronounce it with a bit of Mancunian, and it’s “Les Lekin”, bitter drinking legendary fly half for Sale Sharks. Well, that’s a little insight into how my brain works, and yes, I have French ancestry, and was raised around Manchester, so time for a clunking segue into the inner workings of the album. What Les Lekin happens to be in reality is a Austrian instrumental three piece with a mission to introduce the world to their own take on a psychedelic voyage into inner consciousness.
Only four tracks fill the three quarters of an hour of ‘Died With Fear’, and whilst there is a common sound of long, languorous drawn out hypnotic riffs over loose jazzy drumming and complex bass beats, each track manages to have its own character. ‘Orca’ starts the album with an echoing flow, somehow conjuring up an image of the ocean deep without having to work in the sort of whale song effects that far from being soothing, make me want to punch the new age hippies who play them in head-shops, but that might just be me. Instead, with occasional swift guitar flurries, the band manage to capture the menace that is surely inherent to one of the largest predators on the planet.
Up next is ‘Inert’, a song that would be in danger of having it’s title used against it by the lazy reviewer (yep, I’m more than capable of falling into that category folks, I am at least that self aware!), were it not for the ability of the three players in the band to combine a near somnambulist delivery of meandering effects with enough changes of tempo and occasional sonic blasts to keep all but the most herbally relaxed listener from nodding off entirely.
Firing out of the speakers next is ‘Vast’, a track that is almost ironically the shortest offering on the album, sprinting past in just under the nine minute mark. However, what it lacks in comparative length, it more than makes up for in a dense wall of sound at the opening, the sort of sonic tsunami I’ve experienced at intimate Elder shows where the music doesn’t so much come in waves, rather cascades like a bursting river that pushes into the mind.
Closing ‘Died With Fear’ is the suitably epic ‘Morph’, and I have to admit I am of the age that I was slightly disappointed that Les Lekin didn’t manage to work Tony Hart’s theme music into the mix. Instead the track lures in the listener with a mellow, Eastern tinged opening that would have easily been at home played if on a sitar as it would on a Gibson, before building up with insistent intensity into a barrage of effects and feedback before fading out through a series of tightening sonic loops.
Whilst there is nothing new or radical about ‘Died With Fear’, indeed, the sort of old hippies that make even my aged self seem young might well have experienced such sounds at a happening hosted by The Pink Floyd, Les Lekin deliver their work with a solid combination of ability and enthusiasm that would have an audience blissfully swaying at a modern day equivalent like Freak Valley. Chill out and enjoy folks.