I’ve been obsessed with this song lately, and it makes me regret not checking out L-D sooner. About time indie rock got a bright injection of new romanticism. (What can I say, I’m a child of the ’80s.)

Lansing-Dreiden – “A Line You Can Cross” (MP3 Link Expired)

Fantastic album, though “Line” is not super representative of the anonymous collective’s Dividing Island, which is pretty schizophrenic. But don’t take my word for it, read the book! Oh wait, sorry … channeling Reading Rainbow there; read this blurb from Aquarius instead (it’s their record of the week too). I’m printing the whole thing ’cause they’re always so enthusiastic.

LANSING-DREIDEN The Dividing Island (Kemado)
At first we weren’t sure what to make of this band, with their awkward name, their super spare black and white artwork, their well crafted mystery, a seemingly complete lack of any sort of pertinent information, no photos, no real liner notes, no mention of individual band members. All very alluring most certainly. We had heard them described as “dreamy space rock… with a psychedelic metal twist” which definitely sounds good. And as some sort of heavy metal / new wave hybrid, which as good as -that- sounds, it most definitely seems like something that would work better in theory than in practice. In actuality, Lansing-Dreiden are neither of those, and end up being way more interesting than any of that would have led us to believe.
Lansing-Dreiden are not just a band either, no, they’re a sort of arts collective: musicians, sculptors, artists, writers, film makers, replete with the requisite gallery showings, Artforum writeups, film premiers and rock shows. The lines between each of these disciplines are so blurry they might as well not exist. Their vibe, both visually and sonically is warm and washed out, a gauzy soft focus shapshot of pop culture past, the sound on The Dividing Island is both dizzyingly bizarre and dreamily overwhelming, a pastiche of all sorts of disparate pop elements, loads of instantly recognizable hooks, sweet harmony vocals, squiggly synths, horns, soft whispery crooning, bi arena rock drums, jangling guitars, huge sheets of fuzzy reverb, hand claps, cheesy electronic drums, It’s almost like it’s 1985 and we’re watching MTV in some alternate universe. This is definitely some sort of (old) new wave, no trace of metal to be found (well mostly, more on that in a minute), no space rock really either, although there is plenty of spaced out trippiness. But even with bits of spaciness, and some space rock swirl here and there, that stuff is just window dressing for L-D’s passion, which seems to be cracked eighties pop. Lansing-Dreiden is some sort of weird musical time machine, skipping lazily from 1982 to 1985 to 1989 and back again. Where Ariel Pink took seventies AM radio, and turned it into his own disheveled, cracked demented pop vision, Lansing-Dreiden instead take eighties FM radio and classic eighties MTV and gives them their own warm and warped, precious and polished spin. Imagine a hip NY art rock band channeling everything you loved and loathed about ABC, Style Council, Talk Talk, Spandau Ballet, the Fixx, Kajagoogoo, Thompson Twins, Culture Club, Fun Boy Three, Naked Eyes, Psychedelic Furs, The Call, Modern English, etc. There are some moments where the band dips its toes into the more rollicking contemporary NY new wave redux sound of bands like Interpol and the Strokes, and there are stretches of moody near ambient post rock, but for the most part this is a dead ringer for some lost eighties ’classic’. Mix tapes, John Cusack, Say Anything, Breakfast Club, it’s like our teenage years revisited, albeit with a slightly more twisted and sinister bent.
There may seemingly be nary a trace of any metal on The Dividing Island, but best stick around for the final track, metallically titled “Dethroning The Optimyth”, quite possibly the greatest (only) song ever to mix eighties MTV pop and crushing death metal! As much as we dig the rest of the record, we almost wish the whole record sounded like “Dethroning The Optimyth”, although to be totally honest, the thought of a whole album of eighties pop death metal is almost too much to bear! Pounding double bass drumming, and chugging downtuned riffs collide with soft sweetly swoony pop, soaring synthesizers, airy breathless vocals, like laying on your bed, beneath your Kiss and Slayer posters, listening to your favorite metal record while your sister is in the next room BLASTING the soundtrack to the Breakfast Club through your thin walls. SO weird but SO COOL!

If you like it I’ll post another track that’s less swoon, more metal.

UPDATE: Oooh, there is an awesome video for the tune: MOV | WMV

Album’s available at Amazon or wherever fine discs are sold.

Comments (25)
  1. enochen23  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    sounds very roxy music to circa eno years.

    i.e. i liked it

    is the full-length out in the stores?

  2. MissNee  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    thank you for finally getting on Lansing train!

  3. mattS  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    The chorus gives me Nik Kershaw flashbacks.

  4. > The chorus gives me Nik Kershaw flashbacks.


  5. i caught their set at don hill’s and it was the most ridiculous, horrible thing i’ve ever witnessed. i laughed, then left. not at all what i expected.

  6. jack  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    anyone else heard the new dirty pretty things record?

    i think it’s fucking awesome.

    them, juana molina, and the riverboat gamblers are heading up my top of 2006 list so far

  7. pissed  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    if that is the band in the video, the look like Living Colour 2k6.

  8. I have been into them ever since i heard “Glass Corridor” and “metal on a gun” from their debut album a couple years back…but apparently i was the only one. i guess being all “we are this crazy art collective” leads people to think you are pretantious thus writing you off. glad you are on board. they are touring with !!! too, which is awesome

  9. daniel  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    totally dig this song. L-D is to the 80′s as Ariel Pink is to the 70′s?

  10. show tommorrow at The Annex:

    Tuesday night, May 16th, The Ad Lib invites you to come watch L-D Section
    II perform live and if that wasnt enough, our guest DJ for the night is
    Carlos D of Interpol fame.

    The Ad Lib presents
    L-D Section II live 11:30
    DJs Upstairs & Downstairs
    Carlos D (INTERPOL)
    The Vet (AD LIB NY)
    E Franc (FUSE TV)
    Doors open at 10
    ANNEX 152 Orchard St
    nuff said

  11. geigercounter  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    Came across this new wave romantic parody:


  12. melina  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    i am having total “the fixx”/80′s flashbacks and liking on this song.

  13. wonker  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    wow, this sucks it hard, they decided to copy every element of 80s music that i hate. wow.

  14. crittick  |   Posted on May 15th, 2006 0

    Thompson Twins in the house, too. Sweet. Dance/Electronic music has been plundering 80s synth-pop, big-style, in recent years (Mylo, Cut Copy, every other house tune)–about time more pop bands get on board.

  15. i feel like the musicians and the actors are in different videos. millie and vanilli the tamborine singers look like they’re being adulated, while the dramatic audience is all bored. I like the fighting girls, but someone should have kept the band out of the video.

  16. i see their first disc in the bargain bin all the time for a couple of bucks. it’s actually pretty good – not amazing, but i listened to it a few times.

  17. Another Lansing-Dreiden track, “Two Extremes”, is availabe here…


    I really like the album. Can’t wait for their Philly show next month.

  18. nick  |   Posted on May 16th, 2006 0

    that is awful

  19. Nylund  |   Posted on May 16th, 2006 0

    I really like the first 3 songs on The Incomplete Triangle. Songs 4 and 5 from the debut are decent too. I could take or leave the second half.

    Download the first track, “Metal On A Gun” from The Incomplete Triangle here:


    I wish I could find a link for “Eternal Lie” because I like that one a lot too.

  20. Kip  |   Posted on May 16th, 2006 0

    Really liked it– and bought “the dividing island” and an earlier e.p., “a sectioned beam.”
    wow. it gets mixed reactions from my pals, but I really enjoy it a lot a lot.
    i have a feeling if belle and sebastian debuted now they’d receive the same sort of instant backlash for being “deliberately mysterious” or whatever the fork harshed them for…. still, I really like it and am excited to seew hat they do live.

  21. I really liked their other CD, “the Incomplete Triangle.” Pitchfork gave it a really bad review, calling it a scam, grotesque, etc etc, but it barely mentioned the actual songs. whatever.


  22. Surprisingly heavy and they sound a lot like Joy Division but they could be good


  23. This is boring. The band name is fucking terrible.

  24. H3C70R  |   Posted on Aug 25th, 2006 0

    This is pure pop perfection circa 1985. Reminds me so much of Prefab Sprout. I’m not surprised that no one else has caught this; Prefab Sprout are completely underrated.

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