LYR Pick The Perfect Albums To Soundtrack Your Creativity
L Y R is a unique partnership.
A three piece, its storied line up includes musicians Patrick Pearson and Richard Walters working alongside Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.
Matching post-rock leaning soundscapes to poetic passages, each new song is written from a different perspective, but the common thread of facing up to a moment crisis binds the tracks together.
New album 'Call In The Crash Team' is out now, and it's a subtle, striking record, one that dwells on mood while Simon Armitage adds definition and tone.
We asked L Y R to pick out records that are perfect to soundtrack your creativity during this lockdown spell.
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At The Drive-In - 'Relationship Of Command'
When I’m asked about records that have shaped my life, not my musical understanding, but my trajectory I think of this album. I remember the first time I heard the almost incomprehensible lyricism, the raw energy of the production and the completeness of what I always think a record should give. It gave me an identity in a place I felt I didn’t, it gave me language and true friendship.
I still listen to it now and find new moments to devour. A masterpiece from start to finish, and to top it off a cameo from Iggy Pop… (Patrick Pearson)
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Fugees - 'Blunted On Reality'
'Blunted On Reality' could have possibly been the first album handed to me? I was too young to understand the context in 1994, but it is still the primary record in my education to black culture and history.
I remember falling in love with this record, tracks like ‘vocab’ and ’Nappyheads - remix’ were on repeat in my bedroom over twenty years ago. I’m listening to the record now, being moved in a different way, still learning.
When asked about the title of the record, Wyclef Jean said:
"When the cop is messing around with somebody for something that the person didn’t do and they try to set ‘em up, that makes me blunted on reality. When the government is taking money on arms…and that money could be going back to the community it makes me blunted on reality. It’s just awareness of what’s going on…that’s what blunted on reality means…It don’t mean that I smoke weed… cause I’m too paranoid as it is." (Patrick Pearson)
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Adrian Utley & Will Gregory - Arcadia soundtrack
Aside from being the soundtrack to Paul Wright's visual masterpiece 'Arcadia', this has to be one of the most perfect records. I can’t help but be transported to fields and hedgerows, clutching onto blackberries and natural history books.
It reminds me of following my dad onto the farms as a kid, the taste of fresh peas straight out the pod. The older I get, the more I realise the importance of a soundtrack, the noise that happens every day, sometimes I hear this record in the ether, I hear it when it’s not playing. (Patrick Pearson)
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Momus - 'Tender Pervert'
I don’t suppose any artist is especially thrilled about being described as ‘overlooked’ but his lyrics alone should have brought Momus (Nicholas Currie) a far bigger audience in the UK.
One of the true maverick composer/thinkers of the music scene, this album is actually him at his most approachable and melodic, delivering crafted, crafty, and sometimes catchy songs. But he’s never less than provocative, always exploring taboos and tasting forbidden fruit, always probing that area where the exotic and the erotic and the esoteric overlap.
The cover of 'Tender Pervert' even carries an address to which complaints should be posted. (Simon Armitage)
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Supertramp - 'Crime Of The Century'
Too early for Supertramp re-re-re-re-reappraisal? In the late 70s they were pretty much public enemy number one for me, and part of the reason I converted to punk. I now find this album very moving, and not just for reasons of nostalgia. A concept album of sorts, it’s a howl from the soul of all outsiders and outcasts.
'If Everyone Was Listening' is a song Sinatra or Scott Walker could have owned, and at the end of Side One, long after 'Asylum' has faded out, there’s a cuckoo calling - the only one I’ve heard this year. (Simon Armitage)
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Big Thief - 'Masterpiece'
I could have chosen any of their four albums. Not because they’re interchangeable but because they’re consistently good. Just when you think a sort of wispy feyness or alt-folksy frailty might be their undoing, a guitar riff kicks in or a melody line cuts through.
This album has a very strong presence - when it’s playing, I’m in its company, being party to its intimacies and its hauntings, sharing some of my own secrets. I’ve never met anyone who actively dislikes Big Thief and I know plenty of people who adore them, but they’ll never be massive - which I find….convincing. (Simon Armitage)
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Wilco - 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'
I always come back to this album every spring - it's full of light and air.
Melodically and lyrically exceptional but wonderfully chaotic, in my opinion it's one of the best American albums of the 21st century. It's always amazing to see a band on a safe(ish) commercial peak just leap off, and the back story for this one is almost as good as the album itself. (Richard Walters)
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Nick Drake - 'Pink Moon'
Anything by Nick Drake is like comfort music for me, but it's the spareness of 'Pink Moon' that I love.
Despite him being something of a figurehead for the lost and unsure, I've never considered his to be dark or sad music; it just reminds me of home and teenage summers and learning the guitar and writing songs for the first time. His records never age. (Richard Walters)
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Vampire Weekend - 'Modern Vampires Of The City'
I'd kind of written off Vampire Weekend as being a little twee and ultra-indie until this came out. This is an intimidatingly smart record; the writing is remarkable, dark and funny and unique, and the production is endlessly inventive. 'Hannah Hunt' and 'Step' are absolute perfection.
When I was still living in London this was my tube album - you can get so lost in it. (Richard Walters)
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'Call In The Crash Team' is out now.
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