- Since Juan Mendez stepped out of Tropic Of Cancer, leaving it as Camella Lobo’s solo project, the ruggedness of their early records has evolved into something more elegant. Remnants of the LA outfit’s first incarnation remain—the post-punk pulse, the macabre atmosphere—but their sound has been anesthetised, refined, and coloured by her vocals. As if to reinforce Mendez’s distance from the project, Karl O’Connor was drafted in for additional production duties.
The album’s sleeve, stylish and sinister, shows a woman’s hand reaching for a chandelier like someone desperately clutching for a phone to dial 911. It’s a neat accompaniment to the music itself, which is aesthetically informed by the hardboiled cop movies Lobo cites as inspiration. And while the overall feeling is bleak and austere, warmer moments shine through like glints of sunshine poking through clouds. Never is this more apparent than on "Children Of A Lesser God," the album’s most elegiac moment.
"Plant Lillies At My Head" opens the record with Lobo’s voice draped over bare-bones instrumentation. On "Court Of Devotion" the vocals become more discernible, but they’re still tangled in the dubby drums and droning guitar line. "Hardest Day" has a strange sense of foreboding, one that dissipates as it eases into "Children Of A Lesser God," before Lobo's vocals blur against a backdrop of echoing drums on "The Seasons Won’t Change (And Neither Will You)."
"More Alone" provides the album’s perkiest moment, as stormy guitars come to the fore. "Wake The Night" and "Rites Of The Wild" have a more ritualistic feel, the former evoking images of a sinister tribal gathering, the latter a rickety instrumental workout. On Restless Idylls, Lobo has cemented Tropic Of Cancer as her own, crafting a signature sound that is sleek and addictive. Where she takes it from here will be fascinating to see.
01. Plant Lilies At My Head
02. Court Of Devotion
03. Hardest Day
04. Children Of A Lesser God
05. More Alone
06. The Seasons Won't Change (And Neither Will You)
07. Wake The Night
08. Rites Of The Wild