Alternative Press, December, 2000
Theremin-powered alien soundtracks.
For awhile it seemed as if theremins had become the hip accouterment for every indie-rock band under the sun. But most groups used them as a kitsch accessory rather than a focal point. Thankfully, the Lothars avoid these pitfalls by exploring every bizarre subtlety of the theremin in intensely psychedelic instrumentals that rival the hypnotic charms of Spacemen 3's Dreamweapon.
After being exposed to the theremin through
the cartoonish excesses of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion,
I was shocked to hear how the Lothars utilize it to such
unsettling effect, as the quintet coax flowing waves of
soothing feedback from each instrument. As each track
progresses, you get sucked further into their gurgling
and creaking alien soundtracks while they slowly ratchet
up the level of intensity of their assault. Oscillate
My Metallic Sonatas' diseased aura grows more intense
with each listen due to the songs' deft balance between
atmospheric melodies and sickly wheezing, echoing Throbbing
Gristle's bleakest moments. Although Oscillate My Metallic
Sonatas has its share of freakish charms, it sometimes
sounds more like an intriguing experiment lacking in personality
and soul. Ultimately, the Lothars are onto something special
with their lysergic instrumentals, but they could use
more variety rather than simply continue their search
for the perfect drone.
Magnet, November, 2000
Hailing from the Boston area are the
Lothars, perhaps the planet's only extant theremin ensemble,
whose aptly titled sophomore outing, Oscillate My Metallic
Sonatas (Wobbly), is a well-tempered blend of the neoclassical,
the cinematic and the downright absurd.
Impact Press, #18, Aug./Sept. 2000
The Lothars have created a milestone recording in the development of theremins as an emotive instrument. They continue with their theremin instrumentals, focusing on compositions and building the tracks layer by layer through time. There's more of an effort at artistry and exploring the bass end of the theremin in relation to traditional instruments rather than misusing it as a gimmick for space-age sound effects. This record is quite relaxing due to the build and repetition within each song. Severely recommended and quite an improvement over their first release.
ink19, November, 2000
How can you follow up an album (Meet
the Lothars ) which features three theremin players overwhelming
a single guitarist? Add another theremin player -- you
can never have too many. The pseudo-palindromically and
most appropriately titled Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas
features a series of the eeriest sonic landscapes you'll
hear this side of a B-movie. Drones, washes, textures
and fields of analog tones form a gorgeous backdrop for
the occasional guitar or theremin lead. Not for late night
listening if you're easily frightened.
Stomp and Stammer, October, 2000
Now here's a good one for Halloween, if only that it sounds like the readymade soundtrack for your next neighborhood satanic seance/cookout. This Boston-based theremin ensemble goes light years beyond what you think you know about the instrument, creating eerie, ominous dronewaves that are darker in tone than your typical high-pitched theremin wailing. Call it bad vibrations or call it an ear-opening revelation, either way for sheer audacity alone you should give these cats a hand, people. (www.wobblymusic.com) (CJ)
Rocktober, Fall 2000
First things first: An instant reaction upon hearing this theremin quartet album in dynamic comical packaging is one of disappointment. I certainly expected something outrageous, out there, outasite or out of it's mind, and this isn't it. Once I came to accept what wasn't on this, however, I was pretty well satisfied with what was. These ambient, sober vibes may seem "normal" but reveal themselves to be sonically unusual on numerous fronts, and this record can be seriously functional, acting as mood music for when you aren't sure what mood you want to be in.
Cape Cod Times, Unknown Date
*** (3 Stars)
It's a safe bet that the Lothars are the only quintet with a lineup of a percussionist and four theremin players. The theremin, in case you've forgotten, is an instrument that makes different sounds depending on the movement of the player's hands through an electronic field. You've heard it in the soundtrack of old horror movies and on the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations." As manipulated by the Lothars, the theremin sometimes sounds like whale songs and sometimes sounds. like radio static. Think of it as psychedelic music for geeks.
The Michigan Independent, Oct. 2, 2000
The Lothars play theremin-based experimental music. Dark, atmospheric, haunting, and beautiful. Guitar and violin round out the unique sound. Their previous record featured only three theremins, on this release they're up to four. Actually, some of the songs come pretty close to rock and roll. It's nice to finally see a band with an accessible four-theremin attack.
illinois entertainer, October, 2000
The theremin is among the weirdest instruments
ever invented - it's played by waving one's hands through
an electromagnetic field - and for years its wailing sound
was associated primarily with second-rate science fiction
films. A few rock bands have toyed with the unusual noisemaker
(The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin), but none have embraced
it like The Lothars. This Boston-based ensemble uses four
theremins and an electric guitar to generate 11 wordless,
psychedelic tunes, ranging from the surprisingly elegant
"The Marriage Of Queen Lothera'' to a creepy, atmospheric
aria dubbed "The Feudal Resistance" (a little in-joke
for the "Star Trek" crowd). Though often challenging,
the compositions are invariably captivating, providing
an eccentric yet engaging clamor for neophyte fans while
allowing in-the-know listeners to quickly forget the instrument's
Aquarius Records Mailorder, October, 2000
Discover what sort of trouble four theremins and one violin can get into. Quite a pleasing sort actually. At times the theremins wind and whine around each other emitting sounds not unlike the voices of dolphins at half speed... or the creaky squeals you'd make by letting the air out of a balloon very very slowly. Other moments sweep you into a blanket of drones and chimes. Recorded live at the Charnwood Conservatory in Somerville, MA. Very nice.
Rustic Rod's Mailorder, November, 2000
This is now a truly GREAT band….. if you dare call ‘em a “band”, in the strictly ‘old fashioned’ sense of the word. ( I swear I heard a Klingon choir coming thru at Terrastock 3.) However, at T4 in Seattle this bunch oozed professionalism. They’ve now added an extra theremin to the other 3, and supplemented with guitar, violin, and samples… they create soundscapes only hinted at on their debut. From improvisational jams…. to catchy tunes full of pop structure….to the truly sublime. Now one of my FAVE soundz !!