Sheath (Warp Records)
By: Cam Lindsay
The fact that Sheath was purely by accident proves that miracles can happen. It's been eight years since LFO's last album Advance dropped (and thirteen since their debut, Frequencies), and many believed the duo had packed it up, since Gez Varley left soon after and Mark Bell went off producing the likes of Bj?rk and Depeche Mode. Compiled by a friend who made it as a mixtape for the car, Sheath is a collection of tracks Bell made throughout the years. As thoroughly comprehensive as both Frequencies and Advance, Sheath is a return to form that realizes just how relevant and modern LFO still is. "Freak", a contender for single of the year, rebuilt the legacy upon its recent release, bringing the nostalgia of "LFO" crashing into the Top 20 to mind. In "Freak", Bell has taken a minimal piece of techno and transformed it into a head-pounding work of genius, filling it with exhilarating flashes of psychedelic chaos. Elsewhere, Bell discovers the comedown pill ("Nevertheless"), has a fling with insanity ("Mummy, I've Had An Accident...") and charges full speed into a brick wall ("Snot"). Sheath may technically be a mixtape, but it's also one of the best albums to see the light of day this year. Thank god for friends.
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