Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Brad Kopplin
The Lymbyc Systym sounds like prophecy ringing in from the timbers, smoking in from the highland fires and buzzing in as if it was a well-meaning tattle-tale, giving it to us straight, but also with inflections and adornments that we'd comment upon later to our close friends and family members were all very lovely touches. Jared Bell - he and his brother Mike make up the whole of the group these days - mentions something of a blissed out feeling when he refers to the band's "Birds," but we'll audaciously suggest that he doesn't even know the half of it - of what this music does to people when they're not looking.
This is a persistent brook of mountain water enriched with the wonderful taint of gold ore and magical dust and as we bend down, cup our hands and slurp some of it into our mouths, we can taste the gold and the all-knowing pixies or whomever shook that dust free from its hip pouch. It seems to carry with it a muscle relaxant that would never leave behind a trace should anyone ever come looking for it. It carries certain flights of fancy that ripple and pulse with triumphant coolness, a flare here and some dimply and bashful flair there. The lack of words gives these instrumentals all of the room in the world to stretch their spindly arms and legs, to curl and vine, to reverse and repeat. Without the entrapping language to shackle and stymie, it's left to the shadowy voices of the insides to do all of the interpreting, but they don't all speak at once. They come out, one at a time taking very well-behaved turns, and they chime in with sound to be more like harmonies than opinions. The prophecies have their own choir of heartbeats and low-beats, of drifting submission and faraway lulls that rendezvous in the middle of the eyes and ears - so essentially, the brain, somewhere in the frontal lobe - and that's where it's occupied.
The Bell brothers are fundamentally not fundamental and their talents for chimes and loops, which create a steady state of rhythm and rolling but could never give off any motion sickness, are seemingly endless. There is blissfulness and there is bluster that - if you wanted to save money on your winter utility bills - could be used to heat your entire house. It's a warm blaze that they entice from the melodies and ideas that they so carefully put together. It provided a montage for this particular day, spent scurrying about, through the dirty and slushy brown snow, completing some last-minute shopping and it didn't seem out of place. It played as the car lived. It played as we moved together through the boxes of vinyl record albums at the record store, spying rare Hendrix and Band bootleg live albums for $125 more than should be spent on them. It played as the meter was fed a dime for a few minutes of time and then continued as we moved through an antique store that smelled of the dreadlocked mutt that called it home. It smelled of the ancient glass and the dusty light fixtures - all of the stuff that needed to be scrubbed clean. The rooms were cool because of the open door in the back that led to a pebble-floored room of scary photographs, old Playboys and furniture that people might have died in and Lymbyc Systym fit in with the parlor and the pallor, giving everything that the eyes spotted a specific texture that suited it.
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