Despite spending much of the past three years on separate continents, brothers Jared and Michael Bell have written and recorded their third full-length as Lymbyc Systym — a feat that’s made at least a bit easier thanks to 20 years of playing together. And somehow, Symbolyst is among the duo’s most accomplished to date, with harmonies as rich and melodies as infectious as ever.
The album’s opener, “Prairie School,” begins with a bubbling, arpeggiated melody, gradually escalating beneath layers of bassy and whirring synth lines. “Falling Together” is packed with twists and turns: opening with synthesized moodiness, it soon breaks into driving hip-hop beats and pop flourishes prior to a twinkling piano passage. And that’s only by its halfway mark.
Sweeping strings make a few appearances later in the album, and though Symbolyst in general isn’t a drastic change, it provides a poppier aesthetic, still as reliant on gorgeous melodies but moving away from a slightly more post-rock style. And it manages to live up to its title’s reference to the Symbolists — a late 19th Century arts movement — who, like Lymbyc Systym, attempt to convey universal truths through metaphor. The duo does so now, perhaps, better than ever.