By: Ali Gamari
Playing more like a séance than an EP, the first collaborative effort from Florida-based musicians Leila M. & Tired of Triangles is a heavily atmospheric work, offering sounds capable of transforming mundane surroundings into ominous landscapes, as if in preparation for the summoning of some otherworldly manifestation—one that, frustratingly, never fully materializes.
Despite that, Side A initiates proceedings with a clear sense of arrival, “Intertwined Destinies” emerging from a thirty-second crescendo of strangled chords. It’s an effective opener to an immediately evocative piece; Leila M.’s spindly, wandering tanbur riff overtaken by Dave Andrae’s guitar growlings in a way that brings to mind the relationship between predator and prey. But while strongly cinematic in its capacity for conjuring and sustaining a sense of mood, the composition itself remains static, even with the eventual intrusion of additional layers, including stoically read observations and deep exhalations. Although initially captivating, and at no point unpleasant, ‘Destinies’ ends much like it starts, as if exhausted from carrying its own bare-boned weight, and long before it can achieve any kind of hypnotic quality.
Slightly more substantial—and overtly cinematic—is Side B’s ‘Crimson Gold‘. Taking its name and inspiration from the 2003 Abbas Kiarostami-scripted story of a pizza-delivery man grappling with the economic and social injustices of a corrupt society, the track comes across like an anthem of defeat. Rather than merely complimenting the film’s original soundtrack, Leila M. & Tired of Triangles channel the protagonist’s motorcycle-assisted descent into despair with a bass-driven theme; a turbulent path for the repeating and increasingly overbearing cityscape suggested by Leila M.’s anxious strumming. As with ‘Intertwined Destinies’, a few other elements drift in and out, static drive-by’s and fuzzed out scratches that, in themselves could have benefited from variety in pitch or tone. Still, ‘Crimson Gold’ is far more entrancing than the previous track, its monotony mirroring the daily grind suffered by the delivery man of its source material—even if the overall effect is somewhat contradicted by an unnecessary coda of giggly studio banter.
Regardless of whether their intention was to push their limits or merely set the stage, with these two tracks Leila M. & Tired of Triangles make a strong introductory statement, showcasing an impressive ability at crafting mesmerizing soundscapes—but not the willingness to fully explore them.