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It's easy to assume early on that Division Of Laura Lee will be another of the 60s mod-rock fashioned Burning Heart releases that Epitaph Records takes such an evident pleasure in releasing on the States. After all, those Swedes have a great way about their rock'n'roll (or as they say on "Wild And Crazy," "I am your fucking bad behavior.") Yet, Division Of Laura Lee is a lot denser than that simple pigeonholing. For the first few tracks, Black City is brilliant rock, much along the same lines as The Hives and Randy, two other Burning Heart alumni. Yet, take your attention away for a second or misunderstand where Division is taking this work and it will lose a listener -- quickly!
One of those almost disconcerting moments comes with the light goth/new wave infused emotional brilliance of "Trapped In" where the lyrics yearn, "And I hope someday things will get better." Well, there ain't a thing wrong with this moment, one of Division's very best, and that's saying a lot considering the rock excellence of "Need To Get Some," "We've Been Planning This For Years" and "Number One" that open this disc up.
Black City gets a bit less incendiary on the tender "I Guess I'm Healed" that really does get at one's emotions, much in the same way that "Trapped In" so perfectly accomplishes. Yet, this track begins the more less-easy-to-define side of Division Of Laura Lee. "The Truth Is Fucked" but far be it for this one particular track to travel down the road of being "another fucking waste for the human race." Surprisingly, it's Oasis-type rock glory that reaches for the stars of hope while wallowing in a sea of cynicism. Oh yes, one can get that much out of this one track. And the beauty is, if one is paying attention, this deeper dive into the rock psyche works out perfectly alongside its more simple and primitive moments.
And what can "I Walk On Broken Glass," a depressingly gorgeous masterpiece, be but a hybrid of the Beatles and Pink Floyd, but never does the moment emerge where the track sounds dated. And such is Black City where the emotions switch up often between the carefree wild sounds of rock to the introspective brilliance exploring a discontented soul. It's a masterpiece of fun and grief and might just be the most intriguing rock journey to be had all year.
Rating: **** 1/2
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