No other pairing in the history of Darkwave ever matched the unfettered creativity, resolve, and DIY attitude from the collaboration between the two creative minds that compromise Lebanon Hanover.
The meeting of the Swiss musician Larissa Georgiou, aka Larissa Iceglass and British artist William Maybelline a decade ago in the latter’s hometown of Sunderland in the UK, was a monumental occasion, reverberating throughout the European music scene and even across the Atlantic.
Lebanon Hanover would emerge from the peak of the world-wide minimal wave revival, with their 2011 split 7-inch record with La Fete Triste issued as the catalog debut of Europe’s most ubiquitous Techno-Industrial EBM labels, aufnahme + wiedergabe.
With Berlin as their new physical home, William and Larissa would soon, however, join the Fabrika Records family. From here, they would go on to release two full-length albums through the Athens based label, starting in early 2012 with their winter debut LP The World Is Getting Colder, and it’s All Hallows Eve followup Why Not Just Be Solo.
It was Lebanon Hanover’s 2013 third studio outing Tomb for Two that would go on to cement the duo’s legacy, with the album’s single “Gallow’s Dance” becoming a post-punk anthem for the times, with artwork became the band’s defacto logo. Not only that, the song “Sadness is Rebellion”, also featured on the album, became the band’s official Mantra.
Two years would pass before the release of 2015’s critically acclaimed fourth record, “Besides the Abyss”. In the intervening years, William and Larissa, initially a couple, would find other partners, and relocate to Athens.
Meanwhile, Lebanon Hanover as a live act would expand rapidly in popularity, exceeding capacity during their performances at Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, and performing sold-out shows across Europe and the UK.
With the playful Babes of the 80s maxi-single released in the interim, three years would pass before the next record from Lebanon Hanover, with 2018’s Let Them Be Alien, the band’s fifth studio album.
At the dawn of the global pandemic, where dystopian nightmares that were only ever seen before within the pages of books and flashes of silver screen celluloid, has become a daily reality, a new kind of darkness envelops the world. It was at this Lebanon Hanover returned, sharing a glimmer of hope with the single “The Last Thing,” the duo’s first song from their forthcoming sixth studio album Sci-Fi Sky.
“The Last Thing” is one of Lebanon Hanover’s best songs yet—an arresting and sorrowful dirge, it is a song that evokes the ray of hope that lingers after Pandora’s Box has opened. And this is undoubtedly the feeling permeating the still air of silent cities and towns worldwide where human beings have never before been further apart.
The song features the most haunting vocals from Larissa Iceglass to date, like a warm exhalation of light under the veil of seemingly perpetual darkness, standing toe to toe with the passionate work of luminaries such as Marianne Faithfull, and Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico herself.
“In these morbid times once it’s over it is over.
Looking back at your life there is basically nothing that counted more than love.”
“Living on the edge”, is a strong opener, with vocals helmed by Larissa, is a sighing electronic music track, with buzzing guitars droning in the distance, and the clever blue allusion instilled in the witty lyric: “Monday Morning, listening to The Cure”.
“Golden Child” is playful yet haunting nursery rhyme recounted by William Maybelline, that is both complex in its production and driven by that classic kind of Lebanon Hanover bassline.
“Garden Gnome” opens with caustic guitars that vacillate between echo-laden strumming. The song is both beautiful, jarring, idyllic, and bitter.
“Digital Ocean” features a melody that would be at home on early Cocteau Twins records, counterbalanced by Maybelline’s baleful growl.
“Angel Face” is an acoustic guitar piece that is almost neofolk in compositions, highlighting the genre-spanning dynamic range across the album, and some of Maybelline’s best crooning vocals.
“Hard Drug” once again tapes into that early sound championed by Ivo Watts Russell, with folky acoustic elements led by Larissa’s resonate voice guiding the way through the rueful melody.
“Third Eye in Shanghai” is an unsettling track whose Gothic Rock guitar riff whose detuning evokes Eastern Ritualism, with dual vocals shared between Larrisa and William that overlaying distorted buzzing, and humming sounds reminiscent of Mongolian throat singing.
“Your Pure Soul” is a slow cinematic journey along the pews and corridors of the religious subconscious. Led by Larrisa’s mesmerizing vocals, this creates a sonic palette of such a caliber, as only been previously explored through the early work of Dead Can Dance.
“Come Kali Come”, invoking the Cheif Shakti, divine mother, and destroyer of evil in Vedic mythology, is a perfect closer for Lebanon Hanover’s most experimental album to date. The song’s bubbly theremin sounds quivering like radio interference over sitar-esque strumming, with the sinister whisper of the song’s title and refrain giving way to William Maybelline’s bellowing croon.
Spanning an epic journey across ten tracks that wander through industrial landscapes, and ascend beyond the atmospheric aether, Sci Fi Sky is Lebanon Hanover’s most cohesive artistic statement to date. With their icy hearts on their sleeves, this is the culmination of a decade’s worth of musical creativity radiating from the minds of both Iceglass and Maybelline, and altogether an otherworldly beacon of hope in a time of sheer darkness.
Splatter white with blue 1000 copies hand-numbered in gatefold 2LP
Splatter white with dark green 1000 copies hand-numbered in gatefold 2LP
Splatter silver moon with yellow moon 1000 copies hand-numbered in gatefold 2LP
DIgipack CD unlimited