Alfred Darlington (better known as Daedelus) and his now-wife, Laura, met in their high school orchestra, and decided to be partners in the ballroom-dance club. After high school, they were estranged for a few years, but true love prevailed and they reunited and eventually married. This little story of love regained is important to keep in mind when listening to the duo’s debut album. Not that they’d let you forget it: It runs so consistently throughout their songs that it’s a relief when they sing about anything else. The album sounds exactly like two former high school music geeks who are publicly, annoyingly in love and happen to have access to professional recording equipment.
The Long Lost‘s production makes the electro-acoustic arrangements and Laura’s breathy Vashti Bunyan vocals shine with a slick sheen. Unfortunately, this only adds to the sugary sweet atmosphere inherent in the star-crossed lovers theme. Each song feels so smooth that any bit of harshness or static seems like an aural oasis. For instance, the actual tornado siren that closes out “Siren Song” is much more compelling than the calligraphies of strings and flutes preceding it. And “Past Perfect” meanders by so slowly that one wishes more attention were paid to the dynamics of the song than the recording of it.
The most intriguing moments on the album are when the hip-hop tendencies that Alfred is so well known for as Daedelus shine through the mix. The syncopated snare on “Sibilance,” for example, is one of the few energetic moments here. The funky synths and glitches on “Ballroom Dance Club” make it a standout track, except for the distracting lyrics detailing — you guessed it — their weekly rendezvous at the ballroom dance club. But even these lyrics aren’t the worst. “Cat Fancy” features Laura singing “meow meow meow” for a full forty-five seconds, and “Colour” consists primarily of the duo trading riddles about the colors of things: “What is blue? The sky is blue.”
The chorus of “Domestics” says that the Darlingtons “invite friends who get so drunk, but it’s OK, because they’ll be gone and she will stay,” followed by lines variously describing their toothrushes (which are the same color!), their pajamas (which they wear way too late), and their sleeping patterns (“wake up, sleepyhead, it’s afternoon!”). It almost makes me wish I could leave along with those drunk friends of theirs.