I'm always cautious when a band adopts Roman numerals to denote a new manifestation: an overt reference to Amon D??l II, or just a shocking lack of imagination? In the case of Lead Sister II, it strikes me as a playful gesture. Lead Sister I operated(/s?) as a Carpenters cover band and an forum for Richard Carpenter hataz. Their new incarnation appears more indebted to Kukkiva Pollisi, junkyard psych and gamelan recordings. Not so coincidentally, they find themselves on Uton's Ikuuisis roster.
Lead Sister II seem to take an exquisite corpse approach to composition - tracks are often arbitrarily comprised of minute-long segments, cut and pasted with no concern for overarching aesthetics, irrespective of track-divides. While this technique almost removes the hypnotic element of the music (bizarrely, it still retains some mesmeric qualities), there is a sort of charm in it all. They inject a restless quality that is often absent from the all-too-common turgid paint-dry approach of the generic staple. Despite their unique, self-crafted structural predictability, they somehow manage to circumvent tedium. Content-wise, rhythm is forefrontal, while treble lies low in the mix (occasionally popping up to assure you that yes, you haven't lost your mind - it is part of the music). Typical structure: a concrete gamelan beat is established, looped, unchanging, while squeaking high-end frequencies and a catalogue of placeable (loonie toons fx, animal calls) and placeless (bubbling, groaning, booming) samples are deployed at random intervals, miscellaneous instruments are scraped, bowed and scratched, and fingernails strike pick-ups. That said, by the end of the album ?Interplanetary Craft? tests the waters of 2-minute pocket drone, having a go at Pelt-like segments; but these invariably jolt-stop and give way to focused gamelan.
Repetition and predictability are two sides of the same coin. Lead Sister II resist predictability by stirring shit up, throwing in a few curveballs and ensuring that element of originality, avoiding the all-too-serious ?aesthetically consistent? bullshit. While its roots seem to lie in eastern-tinged minimalism, the pseudo-ethnic stylings of Sun City Girls and free-psych improv, Lead Sister II have managed to create something pretty original. 6/10 -- David Ainley (18 March, 2008)