Release Date: Jan 7, 2013
Record label: Accidental
Byron, Aristotle and snowboarding is the kind of unlikely combination of influences cited by posturing fledgling bands. But you're more inclined to believe Conrad "Merz" Lambert, 1999's next big thing, who abandoned his major label deal for a more eccentric musical path. For his fourth album, he relocated to the Swiss Alps with Björk collaborator Matthew Herbert, and follows the pastoral folk of 2008's Moi et Mon Camion with a record of expansive, largely electronic pop.
For some artists you get the distinct sense that no matter how palatable and seemingly eminently commercial their music sounds they are inherently destined to never quite attain mainstream success, forever wedded to cult status on music’s margins. In the case of UK singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Conrad Lambert aka Merz, a retreat from the frontline of commercial pop is a position you imagine he craves and indeed savours, content as he is to plough his own idiosyncratic and singular furrow, which he does to limited success on his fourth album No Compass Will Find Home. When Merz first emerged in the late ’90s, he did so to much hype and expectation.
Given the various elements at play from the fourth full-length release by London’s Conrad Lambert, or Merz, No Compass Will Find Home really shouldn’t fit together and present with any sense of cohesion. The record bears a folk-pop spirit at its core, but forces its way to the periphery with a buffet of textures including ambient interludes, unconventional dance rhythms, towering synths and ultra catchy guitar riffs. Content to play with tension, Merz infuses opposites into the arrangements with dark undercurrents marching alongside sweet melodies.