Supreme Beings of Leisure return with their third album, 11i a darkly cinematic collection of enchanting, hypnotizing songs. Sultry rhythms and understated electronica complement the sophisticated songcraft behind their signature sound.
The album is a song cycle about daily life that begins with the sumptuous prelude of The Light and seamlessly evolves into the concluding drifting-into-dreams track, Lay Me Down. In between are standouts including the wistful and melodic This World, Mirror and Angelhead (feat. Lili Haydn).
There may be no more aptly named band than Supreme Beings of Leisure. On this L.A. duo's third album, 11i
, a musical aesthetic once called trip-hop reaches archetypal heights. Ramin Sakurai's loping, electro-orchestral production and Geri Soriano-Lightwood's breathy, clarion vocals tango with nary a misstep. Opener "The Light" sets the bar loftily. Despite how many others have lounged in these musical waters, it asserts, we do bass, beats, and luxuriant bombast better. Why? Take "Angelhead": Soriano-Lightwood sings a difficult but unmoving melody only "The Star-Spangled Banner" could love, but Surakai's lush instrumental wraps the vocal in a silken sheen that leaves the song sounding timeless--almost impossibly, it seems, but there it is. Skeptics may write SBL off as a 'Dead Can Dance for Dummies,' and lesser successes ("This World," "Oneness," "Lay Me Down") do tend too often toward romantic clichés and an forced cosmopolitan mojo that seems hell-bent for a future elevator. But when Sakurai emerges from his lagging tempi and turns up the volume, both musicians bloom. When, for example, the chorus of "Mirror" delivers its tectonic slab of drums and bass, this is a band bursting forth with its deluxe best yet. 11i
is music for the leisure class, perhaps, but--as advertised--it doesn't get much better. --Jason Kirk