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n.Lannon | Chemical Friends (Badman)
Nyles Lannon's solo debut sits somewhere between his electronic alter ego n.ln and his work as guitarist in Film School, the hotly-tipped San Francisco outfit. Switching to acoustic guitar and slowing down the pace, Lannon can't resist the urge to tamper with this solid set of finger-picked or gently-strummed, breathy ballads. Each song discloses his other projects, with a synthetic wave of sound crashing or rumbling by at any given moment. On Demons, there's not an untreated sound to be heard and even when he does strip it down to basics, as on Spy or Turn Time Around, there's a wash of synthesiser to dilute the already anaemic core of the song. For all the comparisons to Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, or the modern electronic-pop of The Postal Service, 'Chemical Friends' is an uncomfortable marriage of unremarkable writing and faux colorizations that betray an essentially soulless record.

Matt Dornan
July 2004