Labasheeda are an Amsterdam-based trio who are new to me, but apparently have been around awhile–their first album came out back in 2006. Their latest album, Blueprints, is the band’s sixth full-length, and it’s a collection of relatively difficult-to-classify indie rock. The three members of the band (Saskia van der Giessen, Arne Wolfswinkel, and Bas Snabilie) certainly sound like they’ve been playing together for some time now; they move as a single unit throughout Blueprints. Labasheeda shift around to fit these songs–loosely, van der Giessen is the vocalist and violin player, Wolfswinkel the guitarist and bassist, and Snabilie the percussionist, but all three of them play a variety of instruments throughout the record. This is “for the love of the game” indie rock, with hints of noisy 90s Touch & Go/Quarterstick bands, sharp post-punk, and even a bit of post-rock (primarily aided by van der Giessen’s violin), but without neatly slotting into any clearly defined subgenre.

Opening track “Fossils” establishes the core tenets of Labasheeda right off the bat–plodding, prominent post-punk bass, fractured yet melodic lead guitar reminiscent of Archers of Loaf, and van der Giessen’s forceful, dynamic vocals above it all. Blueprints doesn’t veer too far away from this formula, although the trio certainly have plenty of room to maneuver within it–the first half features highlights “Sparkle”, which transforms the band into high-flying, Sebadoh-ish indie rock anthem writers, and the brief, seething “Curiosity”, which puts the band in Come or Geraldine Fibbers territory. Another sign that Labasheeda is a veteran band is their confidence in slowing things down a bit–Side A ends with the marimba-heavy ballad “Vanity”, and the second half features “Tigre Royal” (which needs five minutes to crescendo to its conclusion) and “Volatile” (a slowcore-ish track that never truly takes off). Bands like Labasheeda are destined to be under-the-radar–but you, the person who is reading a virtually unknown music blog in mid-December, certainly know that that’s where the best music is, anyway.

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