The drawings inside the liner notes of Lazarus’s Songs for an Unborn Sun include two naked disfigured male and female figures in subtle, and not so subtle, sexual positions that give the impression the music will either be the pseudo-intellectual undertakings of a pretentious artistic-type or slow instrumentals with a freaky edge. Trevor Montgomery, former member of Tarentel and the Drift who now records as Lazarus, makes music that lies somewhere in-between. He sticks to a basic pattern of soft whispering vocals next to an equally quiet guitar but throws in a few surprising musical effects to keep the listener interested.
While Temporary Residence Ltd. labelmate Eluvium inadvertently made the perfect album to fall asleep to, Lazarus purposefully seemed to do it on purpose. “Poets the Liars” ends with “it’s the night/ It’s the hardest thing/ To drift asleep”; “Ocean (Burn the Highways)” ends with a simple “Goodnight.”
Though it is sleep-inducing quality of the soft music, it is not bland. It’s the little things, the smallest alterations and tones, that refuse to let the album blend into a long, monotonous tune. In “Tears,” Lazarus includes a high-pitched string instrument reminiscent of a mandolin or a dulcimer that breaks the repetition of the sole guitar strumming. “Born of a Friendship” takes a break from singing to spurting a continuous strand of words that barely leaves room for him to breathe. Throughout the album, Montgomery alternates between more upbeat notes and ultra-slow vocals that leave large spaces between each word, commanding my interest toward every one of his thoughts.
The songs, though, stick to a basic theme of a lost love and a harsh break-up, themes that get somewhat repetitive as the album wears on. This is the part where it becomes more about the painfully self-involved, pretentious artistic type. If he doesn’t explore a world outside himself, Montgomery seems on the border of falling into the world of Williamsburg lofts and I’m-so-painfully-sad-my-life-sucks attitudes. He seems, and hopefully is, too intelligent to stick to this easy and all too common topic of lost love and will instead experiment with broader and fresher lyrical concepts.