Before forming Landlady in 2010, Brooklyn-based musician Adam Schatz already knew he wanted two drummers and two people playing keys. That’s the basis for the group’s complicated choral pop arrangements and powerful sound. But it takes more than bodies to orchestrate a song, and Landlady’s energy is matched only by the control the group has over the way the music sounds. There’s nothing chaotic about it. Each instrumental thread is fastidiously shaped and as pronounced as it’s meant to be, every dynamic shift is calculated for contrast–every move the music makes is palpably intentional. But though Landlady may be meticulous, their playing has too much melody and sheer pop-infused heart to seem sterile. Their latest song, “Dying Day,” is proof.
“Getting better every day,” the track begins with unembellished vocal delivery from Schatz. “I think I’m getting closer to my dying day.” “Dying Day” is a completely palatable experiment in idiosyncrasy and weaving self-contradiction. The lyrics correct themselves and mull over meanings and instrumentally, the song behaves similarly. The rhythms bounce along nonchalantly, and sometimes lean with their full weight into the backbeat in a sauntering pose that makes the music seem–for all its jumpy complexities–carefree. Although the song’s mood is hard to pin down when you look at it under a microscope, a less aggressive listen–road trip soundtrack? mix tape opener? These summery chords are damn versatile–makes for just plain fun.