Resplendent Wings Beneath the Sills EP (Resplendent II)

[Mixx Tape; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: confessional ballads, left-field pop, experimental indie rock
Others: The Fire Show, Number One Cup, The Notwist, Fuck, Eels

Resplendent is essentially Michael Lenzi of Fire Show and Number One Cup fame. With Wings Beneath the Sills, we find him experimenting more than ever with industrial sounding beats, live instruments, and a heavy dosage of reverb, echo, and delay. The near-27 minute album we have here proves to be just the right amount of music. Lenzi’s childlike melodies carry the songs, producing a hypnotic quality when coupled with the repetitive background noise.

On the six-minute "Luminescent Exuitant Chariot," we find Lenzi gently crooning his sweet sentiments over a spattering beat. "Now that I’ve told you I’m gonna have to kiss you," he sings in an almost unpolished Phil Elvrum voice. Tones upon tones stack in the background, accentuating the drenched vocal. Much of the album follows this same formula. Live instruments play an important role on the project. Flutes and French horns assist the mechanical mayhem, helping to mellow out the erratic drum patterns and thudding bass lines. As an instrumental album, this formula would more than likely suffer. The vocal melodies really catapult the songs from mediocre filler to repeat-listen status. The album highlight is undoubtedly the title track: "Wings Beneath the Sills" presents the hardest drums on the album along with some elegant guitar work. The combination works wonderfully and is even improved by the eventual sheet metal slaps and grinding layers. This particular song is the best representation of Michael Lenzi’s latest sound.

The most negative aspect of Wings Beneath the Sills, however, is the lyrics. The writing seems unfocused and overly cryptic. This is a rather small problem, which is easily cured by Resplendent's melodic sensibility. The nonsense lyrics, playful melodies, Sigur Ros textures, and Matmos electronics create an ethereal listen that is both gratifying and promising. While this is only one EP amongst a set of three, Resplendent continues to hone his newly acquired crafts here along with the other two contributions.

1. Resolution Time
2. Luminescent Exuitant Chariot
3. Wordsnotenough
4. Wings Beneath the Sills
5. Nape of Neck Hints
6. Sleeptalking In the Natatorium