Label: Breakfast Records
There is a lovely simplicity to ‘The Noon And Midnight Manual’. At only 27 minutes, the album doesn’t outstay its welcome, instead saying what it needs to say at a comfortable pace and with a voice that sums up Langkamer’s character, while subtly surprising us along the way too.
The album reminds me of the early stuff from The Districts or perhaps the country-rock of Houndmouth; like these two bands, Langkamer are extremely listenable, while their sincerity and tightness ensures they never become dull.
The album opener ‘Sing At Dawn’ is an instant favourite. The verses are sparse and the pace is never rushed. Guitars noodle, drums stroll along and, by the time the chorus hits, you’ll know whether you’ll like this album.
“All my friends are making money / All my friends are getting drunk” Josh Jarman sings, casual in his delivery but confident enough for us to listen to what he’s saying. The chorus breaks with the instruments cutting out and a loud whoop.
‘Sarah’ changes things up a little. A Vampire Weekend-esque guitar opens the track with its playful character and, before long, it’s joined by a harmonica. Drums shuffle underneath, keeping the track skipping along. It’s the most fun track on the album and its changes in pace throughout keep it exciting.
Langkamer play around with these pace/tone shifts throughout the LP. On ‘Sleepers Two’, another highlight, we think we know exactly what we are in for in the song’s slightly melancholy verses. Then, midway through the track opens up, revealing guitar riffs and a much more upbeat bluesy conclusion.
The band are at their best in these playful moments but the slower, more beautiful tracks work very well too. ‘Bread’, although criminally short, is a gorgeous example of this. The slide guitar paired with fingerpicking and Jarman’s poetic lyrics creates one of the cosiest and special moments on the album and I would have loved to see it fleshed out into a longer cut.
‘Bryony’, the album closer is a satisfying combination of what makes Langkamer the band they are. The pace is playful and unexpected, the guitars are groovy and laid back and the vocals are emotional but not overstated. If you’re into your rock and folk and want 25 minutes of excellently produced, effortlessly played and tenderly written music, you can’t really go wrong with ‘The Noon And Midnight Manual’.
Listen to ‘The Noon And Midnight Manual’ here: