TLSM is Leeds-based Matthew Jennings, who doubles on synth and guitar in The Butterfly. This concept album (roughly detailing the end of a relationship) appears to be his second solo effort (the tracks are numbered 13-24) and, quite frankly, is comparable to tossing a fistful of horse dung on the Mona Lisa or pissing on The Piet?. Jenning?s gift for crafting gorgeous melodies bathed in romantic, swaying synth swashes is utterly ruined by his annoying habit of burying everything, including the exquisite vocals of Cardiff soprano Erika Jones in a barrage of glitchy, clattering electronics.
Jones? choir-like soprano relates the tale of ?Excuses Excuses? over an ever-so-delicately plucked harp-like guitar (Jennings ?composed, recorded, and produced? the whole thing on his computer, so it?s difficult to tell whether the instruments are ?real or Memorex?), but the glitchy, electronic hip-hop noise needs to be excised off the end. Wait! This is not a good sign??Aurora Borealis? begins with more electronic noodling, while romantic synth & string sounds sneak into the back of the room. The annoying, discomforting battle that ensues sadly buries Jones? game attempt at rescuing our attention. It appears we?re venturing into Laika territory, although Jennings? struggles to get his Saint Etienne fixations into his compositions suggest there?s hope that something can be salvaged from this mess.
Unfortunately, such is not to be, as the noisy, gimmicky, glitchy electronics rules the day. If I could separate the two (the glitch from the glitz, as it were) and listen to Jennings? melodies sans bubbling electronic noisemakers, I?d be a happy camper. As it is, twenty minutes into the disk I thought I had a defective copy with all the skipping, bleeping, popping, and general scratchy glitch accoutrements that artists inexlicably refuse to abandon and bury once and for all.
At times on ?Spring Summer Autumn Winter Spring? it seems that Jones will break into a rousing rendition of Connie Francis? ?Where The Boys Are? and throughout the album she often comes across like Klaus Nomi strapped into the electric chair with the BBC Electronic Workshop let loose to play with their toys (?Oh Well? is particularly unsettling). Like Einsturzende Neubauten trying to compose a Beatlesque melody, ?Meisha?s Morning? is another futile exercise in glitchy noise that buries everything Jennings might be trying to say musically. A bit of friendly advice: talk less (with the annoying electronics) and say more (with Jones? gorgeous pronouncements), which can be as powerful as Alison Moyet?s earth-trembling utterances when allowed center stage, as on the near-religious heights achieved on the album highlight ?The Birds On Her Shoulders,? which induces goosepimples and shudders I haven?t experienced since the Rutkowski sisters (Louise and Deirdre) et. al. graced This Mortal Coil?s ?Filigree & Shadow? and ?The Blood? compilations. Recommended only to fans of weird electronic glitch music and the VERY adventurous Laika and Saint Etienne crowd. Old timers with Fifty Foot Hose, Joe Byrd & The Field Hippies, and Bruce Haack albums (or some of The Residents? cockeyed theatrical pieces) in their collections may also find something of interest within. All others should proceed with caution. 5/10 -- Jeff Penczak (27 June, 2006)