UK review of Neon Grey

Blackplastic.co.uk - February 2016

Neon Grey is the latest album from L.A. Girlfriend, who first came to my attention back in 2014 when she released her EP Varsity. Inspired by the 80s sounds of New Order and Iron Maiden that she grew up with, L.A. Girlfriend is the musical project of L.A. based artist Sydney Banta. 

Whilst previous album VIVA was concerned with externalities - reactions to people, places and time - Neon Grey is a more inwardly focused. In Banta's own words, "[Neon Grey] is VIVA‘s introspective counterpart; a story of consequences, documenting an aftermath of emotions".

That album title perfectly encapsulates the L.A. Girlfriend sound, a pit of gravel topped off with a bucket of candy. Banta's vocals and lo-fi delivery create the sort of no fi anti-folk sound more akin to Courtney Barnett or Kimya Dawson, but she marries those to fuzzy, shoe-gaze aesthetic that at times boarders on abrasive. 

Little Do I Know pounds with mechanically precise harsh drum beats and raw synth sounds. XIV accelerates through a wall of scratchy guitars, seemingly unable to slow down. Closely Subliminal Fantastic is dream-like, the half-remembered snatches of a night long since past. Banta's music captures a sentiment and a sense of an emotion before she has even uttered a word.

See the feature here.