Lycia, "The Burning Circle and Then Dust"

Silbur Records is reissuing some remastered versions of old Lycia records.  I don't think I would have had the taste for them in the mid '90s, and the intervening decade and extra knob-twiddling hasn't changed that.



Lycia is one of those acts that built a loyal following behind a giant wall of a discography that always left me a little baffled.  I saw them live once around the time this record was initially released on Projekt and I remember thinking then that it sounded a bit like elements of the Cure and Cocteau twins exaggerated into the most obvious of clichés and then spit back out.  The guitars can be pretty, but they serve a sort of empty purpose for me; the bass lines could be ripped straight from Pornography or any darker-era Cure disc; and the drums are almost relentlessly drowned in cathedral-verb to make everything sound like a funeral procession or cave recording.

The net effect is that what is meant to sound somber and sincere comes off as nothing but cartoonish.  I can't listen to the record without thinking of the many friends I've had over the years whose apartments smell like cloves or incense, and have sheer black fabric draped over windows with rubber bats and skulls everywhere.  It's fine to have some attachment to a scene, but good music ought to exist outside of any of that.  I am sure that to a great number of Lycia fans and folks who litter their apartments with black candles, the fact that Lycia is a quintessential goth (or darkwave?) act is a good thing, but the music fails to work outside of that aesthetic.  And I guess that's where the very concept of a reissue of a disc like this fails on me.  Who is this for?  What fans of this music don't already have access to these records, and what audience is left untapped?  It seems to me that the best thing to do with records that fall out of print like this is to put them online so that new kids being indoctrinated into whatever scene finds these discs necessary can find them easily and without the cost associated to any of the parites involved in making new plastic discs.