Lymbyc Systym: Post-Rockers Return to Phoenix with New Album

For their third album, Symbolyst, post-rock band Lymbyc Systym has come full circle, beginning and ending in the Valley of the Sun.

After a tour through their former hometown, brothers Michael and Jared Bell began working on their latest record in January 2010 and three days after its release this month, the band is playing their first show in Phoenix in almost three years, rolling into the Yucca Tap Room on Friday, September 21.

If you paid attention in high school anatomy, you know the limbic system is responsible for managing your emotions, but Jared said the reason for the misspelling was to own it, lamenting the unfortunate comparisons to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Luckily for us, Lymbyc Systym won't be belting out "Sweet Home Alabama" because their music lacks lyrics, like fellow instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky or the predominately guitar-based Appleseed Cast.

This show will act as a reunion of sorts, even if Michael Bell, the older brother, has actually lived in Phoenix since January of this year, while his younger counterpart has remained in Brooklyn. But even when the duo lived in the same state, they still didn't see each other much when working on Symbolyst.

"Our first full length when we lived in the same house in south Scottsdale, we were treating it like a job and we literally worked on it every day until it was done," Michael explains. "After that, it morphed into a process of exchanging ideas online ... Even when we lived in New York, we never met up until the end. We worked on stuff separately and exchanged ideas [online.]"

Michael himself feels Lymbyc Systym's latest effort is more concise and less bombastic, with more straightforward song structures. The evolution is noticeable compared to 2009's Shutter Release, with melodies sinking just as deep, but hitting you quicker. It's still remarkable that the two brothers were rarely in the same room together when it was written.

Michael isn't sure why it happened that way, but offered an explanation: "Because our band is so heavy on electronics and so cut up [with samples,] all that stuff is more frustrating to do in person. It's easier to do that nerdy technical thing in your own zone. Maybe because our music is so heavy on that process, it sort of morphed into that." That isn't to say the brothers aren't close - according to Jared, music is their greatest common passion.

"We have pretty different personalities, but music is our bond," Jared says. "It will always hold us together, other than our blood. No matter how we might think on a subject, musically our minds seem to be perfectly in sync."

Jared even shed some light on how Lymbyc Systym have stayed together, despite so many geographical distances and Michael's investments in local acts like Knesset and Me Vale Madre, the latter of which will open for their show at the Yucca Tap Room.

"At this point we've been playing music together so long, it's almost like a business," Jared says. "It's such a distorted relationship. Sometimes we're just brothers, other times I don't even remember we're family because so much of our life is the band. It's why we keep going -- we can't really break up when you're family."

Lymbyc Systym is scheduled to perform Friday, September 21, at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.

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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah