Landing's no upstart—the band's been around for about thirteen years—but re-emerged in 2009 following some personal and personnel changes for a seven-inch contribution to Geographic North's You Can't Hide Your Love Forever series. 2012 finds husband-and-wife team Aaron and Adrienne Snow and longtime sidekick Daron Gardner issuing a self-titled album that plays like some idiosyncratic homage to The Cure, Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride. Elements of post-punk, indie-rock, electronica, and dreampop co-habit Landing's songs in refreshingly genre-defying manner.
“Finally” bolts from the gate like some New Wave-shoegaze fireball, its muffled vocals emerging out of a synth-heavy attack that can't help but call The Cure and Joy Division to mind. The third song, “Heart Finds the Beat,” likewise works an uptempo, bass-throbbing groove to memorable effect, with reverb-drenched guitars, radiant synths, and a New Order-styled drum pattern the fuel powering this particular ride. To Landing's credit, however, no matter how strongly echoes of its precursors emerge, the song ultimately sounds like Landing, largely due to the group's distinctive vocal identity.
A lumbering groove and psychedelic synth patterns inaugurate “Heavy Gloss” before Adrienne's ethereal whisper appears to give the tune a strong dreampop flavour. Not surprisingly, it's the songs featuring Adrienne's soft voice that nudge Landing in the dreampop direction most of all. Landing casts its net of influences wide on the nine-song, forty-two-minute album (limited to 500 copies on black vinyl). “Crows,” for example, could pass for a King Crimson ballad circa THRAK, given the lead vocal's similarity to Adrian Belew's singing, while “Like the Tide,” notwithstanding an instrumental opening that plays like the group's stab at krautrock, includes a vocal that in moments sounds a bit like REM's Michael Stipe.Apparently earlier outings on Strange Attractors (Oceanless) and Music Fellowship (Circuit) focused on soundscapes and drones before later releases (such as Seasons on Ba-Da-Bing!), found Landing moving in a more song-oriented direction, a move that nicely culminates in this eponymous album (even if the soundscape drift of the new release's “Migration” harks back to its earlier days). It's a richly satisfying and well-rounded effort that sounds like the work of a newly invigorated outfit as opposed to one running out of steam and ideas after thirteen years of activity.