Album Review :
Long Live Logos - Mundus Vulti Decipi...
Artist: Long Live Logos
Album: Mundus Vulti Decipi…
Label: Pacific Records
Buy: IVM Store
2. The Darkness When I Close My Eyes (The Light When I Open Them)
3. Come On, Come On
4. Dark World
5. You Never Say What I Want To Hear
6. Hey Jesus
8. The Science of Blushing
9. Enough Said
10. All I Need
“The word “logos” in Greek has an extraordinary range of meanings — the heart of which is both “meaning” and “reckoning”. Hence, it may refer to a “word” or a “thought” or a spoken phrase or an idea or that which conveys something which, to the hearer, is meaningful and, thus, can move them. It can be an accounting or a story, a tale, narrative, or fable. It can refer to a theory, a rule of law or of conduct, a scientific hypothesis or lawful observation regarding reality or nature. Within the individual it can refer to a mental argument or a pondering of the reasons for/against. Thus, it also means thinking or the faculty of reason. More generally, it may refer to speech, talk, spoken stories or tales, and, even, rumors or everyday conversation. There is often a connotative sense of a deepened reality which is referenced by ‘logos’…”
If you have no idea what that means in relation to this review of Long Live Logos’s Mundus Vult Decipi…, you’re in good company: Neither do I. However, Long Live Logos do. The above is taken directly from their myspace. At this point you are probably having celestial epiphanies, such as, “Wow, these guys are on drugs.” Or perhaps your contemplations flow more along the following lines: “Wow, I bet the ghost of Robert Smith has possessed these young men and caused them to start one of the chillest indie-rock groups in existence today!” If so, you’re getting warmer. Long Live Logos play a new-wave-influenced, electronic-driven sort of Franz Ferdinand/The Bravery rock, but in a very good way. (In other words, I pretty much have no idea how to describe Long Live Logos.) The back insert of the CD depicts a giant praying mantis devouring a city, which seems fairly normal in comparison to the ride this CD will deliver.
Mundus Vult Decipi… – which is, by the way, a phrase that defies translation, as far as I can tell – kicks off with “Walk,” one of the CD’s strongest cuts. It bounces, it grooves, and it flows. The timely open hi-hats; the keys that can only be described by the word “chill,” one I shall overuse throughout this entire review; the quiet, effects-laden guitar; a bass that actually plays audible and intricate lines consisting of more than root notes; and the somewhat nasal yet quite charming vocals of Danny Castro shall lull you into a trance-like state of submission. I’m only partially joking. Danny will at one point muse, “Are we all zombies? We are living dead here. Cannot even feel…we keep on walking.” I’m sure there is some really cool meaning behind this phrase and the song in general, but by the time the lyrics slide by, there’s a really sweet piano solo, and I’m back to foot-tapping. This happens a fair amount on the Mundus Vult Decipi. Long Live Logos write lyrics that I imagine have intelligent and thoughtful meanings behind them, but I’m blessed if I have any idea what most of those meanings are. Another immediately apparent aspect of Long Live Logos is the background vocals. One of the guys has a really high falsetto. I think it works pretty well, but all of the vocals on Mundus Vult Decipi may be an acquired taste for many.
After a very danceable electronic affair called “The Darkness When I Close My Eyes,” “Come On, Come On” slows it down quite a bit. A spaced-out synth-pop ditty, “Come On, Come On” does not show the band at their lyrical best: “So you looked in my eyes, and you said, ‘Please, don’t cry. All of this is a lie. Everything will be just fine.’ Come on, come on…come on, come on…,” etc. Yet this is the truly remarkable point about Long Live Logos: When they are seemingly at their worst, they are still intensely likable. The fine-tuned atmosphere of each song keeps them on top of most other music even when not on top of their game.
If I had to describe, “You Never Say What I Want to Hear,” I would have to call it a piano-driven cut. I would also have to call it strings-driven, vocally-driven, and guitar-driven – (I desperately need a pedalboard like whatever’s used here). The cut is amazingly catchy, and the guitar solo and piano solo, each backed by a steady but quickly-moving bassline, don’t feel out of place or pretentious at all. However, it may be bested by its comparatively minimalist successor, the singer-songwriter-esque “Hey Jesus.” By the time the fake ending of the song has passed, however, it is quite driving for its feel. Ostensibly, the song is just a guy talking to God about being in love with a girl, but the end is surprisingly poignant, with lines like “Hey Jesus, I won’t take any more of your time; I just wanted to let you know: I thank you for everything. I’m sorry for everything.” It provides a very cool Christian perspective to dating: “I just want to know You the best that I can. I just want to love her with all of my heart.” (This spiritual high passes quickly, however, two lines into “Grace”: “I said, ‘Take off your clothes.’ She said, ‘No way.’” The song is somewhat jumbled lyrically, and the first verse is quite a contrast to the lyrics of the song’s predecessor. “Grace” is quite fun, however, and is not primarily about seducing random girls, so enjoy.)
“Enough Said” is a song devoted to the concept of lying. It’s an interesting perspective, discussing how seemingly innocuous sins will be found out in the end: “It burns like fire when light shines upon that liar’s eyes.” The song ends with what could truly be referred to as a jazz breakdown (though not at all in the same way as, say, a Between the Buried and Me jazz breakdown). The record closes at its high point with “All I Need,” as Danny lists all the things that he supposedly needs to be happy with his life – to get the girl he wants, to have a good job, etc. – and then declares that none of that compares with the faithfulness and the beauty of God: “Will you catch me when I fall…You are all I need. You are all I want. In the quiet space I can see Your face. Alleluia…”
I don’t swear that you’ll like Long Live Logos much. I didn’t my first three or four listens. Long Live Logos employs weird vocal techniques, and spaced-out atmospheric backgrounds. You could hate it, for all I know. But alas, in that case, you would be missing out. This is a technical, well-crafted, sometimes energetic, sometimes affecting, really great CD, giant praying mantises included. I hate it when reviewers give records really high scores, because few really deserve them (in my opinion), but in a rather derivative genre – The Killers got old long ago – Long Live Logos manage to be slick, soaring, original, ridiculously catchy, and quite surprisingly good. A few album non-standouts aside, I don’t know how Mundus Vult Decipi could really be any better than it is.
As John, IVM frequenter, pointed out, every reviewer says that a band they like is bound to break it big. So I don’t say that. Long Live Logos will probably never break it big, and the kids at your school will probably never hear their name. But let’s face it: It’s generally the normal, safe, boring, not-exceptionally-talented bands that do break it big. The band that breaks it big tomorrow will probably sound just like Underoath, or, if they’re daring, As I Lay Dying. But I will swear to you that if you give Long Live Logos a while to sink in, you could find your new favorite band that no one has heard of. I know. It happened to me.
Standout Tracks: Walk, You Never Say What I Want To Hear, Hey Jesus, All I Need
RIYL: Franz Ferdinand, The Cure, New Order, The Bravery, praying mantises eating the world.
Listen to “Walk” here.
Listen to “You Never Say What I Want To Hear,” “Grace,” and “Dark World” here.
– The Headless Horseman