Beloved psychedelic rockers The Laurels have shared the highly anticipated third album ‘Homecoming’ via Third Eye Stimuli Records.
The Laurels completed 'Homecoming' in early 2020 with a release and tour plan put in place for later that year. Thanks to the global pandemic and a string of ill-timed lockdowns, the fate of the album was continually plunged into uncertainty and the band spent the better half of the last two years lying in wait. Since signing with Third Eye Stimuli in 2021, the band found fresh momentum, with a slew of singles from the album now circulating.
Along with their signature hard-hitting psych rock and shoegaze anthems, the 10 track record melds visceral post punk and dense synth soundscapes to create a dream-like experience.
Following on from their 2019 single 'Sound System' and more recently 'Ex-Sherpa', 'Ten Thousand Years’ and 'Borrowed Time', the new album stays true to the classic Laurels' songwriting and ear-shattering sound, while exposing new found experimentation within the band. With recent recruits Kat Harley (bass, vocals) and Ben James (drums) joining original members Luke O'Farrell (guitar/vocals) and Piers Cornelius (guitar/vocals), it's clear that this culmination of The Laurels has exciting new chemistry. “This was definitely the most collaborative record we’ve done”, confirms O’Farrell.
Like their sophomore album ‘Sonicology’ (2016), O’Farrell and Cornelius pre-recorded demos and ideas that the 4-piece group then rearranged and developed together. Like their highly acclaimed releases ‘Mesozoic’ (2011) and ‘Plains’ (2012), the group worked hard on capturing the live arrangements and performances before heading into recording.
The Laurels decided to stray away from their usual DIY recording approach and headed into Parliament Studios in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Leichhardt, assigning Lachlan Mitchell as producer. “It’s our first album recorded in a “proper” studio”, says O’Farrell. “When we’ve recorded ourselves or worked with engineers in the past in makeshift studios, it’s always been a ramshackle way of putting tracks together, which is really fun but can end up being frustrating.” Moving into a studio environment also allowed the Laurels to interact with unique instrumentation and production approaches that noticeably translates into the album. O’Farrell goes on to say; “Lachlan essentially became a fifth member of the band with all of the structural changes and melodic ideas he was throwing our way”.
When writing began, The Laurels had no collective theme in mind and it wasn’t until much later that the band discovered a recurring motif. “We realised that a lot of the songs kept referencing “home” in the lyrics”, says O’Farrell. “It feels like we’ve come to the end of a journey and things have come full circle with this record, so it felt fitting that this idea of “home” kept finding its way into a lot of the tracks.”
Across ‘Homecoming’ The Laurels dive deep into mindfulness and philosophy, nostalgia and escapism, grief and true love, and other self-reflective themes. The exceptional dynamics of each composition adds to the ebb and flow between light and dark. Atmospheric and dream-like songs such as ‘Ten Thousand Years’, ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Soul Candidate’ have a medicinal and meditative quality to them, built on looping song structures and filled with layers of synths, mesmerising vocals and guitars. Whereas tracks such as ‘Sound System’, ‘Borrowed Time’ and ‘Ex-Sherpa’ snap us back to reality with straight-to-the-point shoegaze and garage rock. All the while, The Laurels hark back to some of their signature sonics as heard in ‘L.E.S.S.’, where the guitar sound echoes back to Laurels' classic, ‘Black Cathedral’. Behind the array of melodic colours, the album is held together by rock solid drums, percussion and bass grooves that leads us through the entire 10-track journey.
‘Homecoming’ is both an exciting evolution and a full-circle return for The Laurels. It clearly shows that the band isn’t afraid of experimentation and have worked hard over the past few years to create something that people haven’t heard before, while staying true to their sound. This is a record that goes much deeper than your usual shoegaze and psychedelic rock. It’s a well matured body of work written and performed by a band that has been around for over 15 years. Let’s hope The Laurels continue making music and head back into the studio sooner than later.
Praise for The Laurels
“You’d have to have kooked it fairly hard to be a fan of Australian music and not be across The Laurels.” – Tone Deaf
“Coming in hot off the back of a busy end to 2021, Sydney cult act The Laurels are more than making up for lost time over the last couple of years.” – Trouble Juice
“Their reputation as one of the (if not the) finest purveyors of hypnotic and heavy shoegaze around town is well-deserved.” – Life Without Andy
“The Laurels are sounding so full and well put together with the addition of Kat (Harley) to the band. There's a nice ethereal quality on top of the dark, lean shoegaze sound.” – Declan Byrne, Triple J
“It's The Laurels you know and love, with a fresh take on their sound that refuses to adhere to any particular genres or rules.” – Pilerats