The Lothars

A bunch of shorter reviews we've received for our sophomore CD, Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas.

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.
Bill Cohen

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.
---Fred Mills

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.
Kurt Channing

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. ( (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 sci-fi stigma.
Jeff Berkwits

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 !!