Album Review: Lusts – Illuminations

Illuminations

Released 23rd October 2015

Lusts NME Radar 02

Words: Gary Feeney

Normally when I read or write about a new band, I find it useful to start off with a little bit of background information on them or a wee bit of interesting trivia. With Lusts, however, such information seems in short supply, beyond the fact that the band comprises solely of brothers Andy and James Stone – even this most basic detail doesn’t appear on their Facebook profile. This, however, is probably a little less surprising upon discovering that their first gig only came in January 2015, which was followed up by their debut single Temptation two months later.

Nonetheless, in the age of social media it seems somewhat unusual for a band to have such a low social media profile, especially approaching the release of their forthcoming album Illuminations… and even more so for a band which, as we will discover, has so much to offer.

The first thing that will strike you about Illuminations (if we disregard the opening, and somewhat unnecessary, Intro) is that this does not sound like at all like a two-piece; before a word is sung on the Sometimes, Lusts sound for all the world like a four- or five-piece ensemble. The second thing that will strike you is that this is the kind of album that sounds instantly familiar, calling to mind a number of acts from Echo & the Bunnymen to early R.E.M (partially due to the echoes of a young Michael Stype on vocals). For some, such obvious nods to musical influences might be a criticism, but personally, I’ve never really understood that – certainly, some bands end up just sounding like a bad cover version, but if you can bring your influences together to produce and stamp your own sound on it, as Lusts do, then it seems a perfectly reasonable way of making music to me. Let’s face it; it’s worked for pretty much every other artist of note in the history of pop music.

Throughout the album, the general musical vibe is the same with strong drum and basslines which mostly define the melodies, reverb-laden guitars and vocals which are relatively low in the mix, feeling at times like a backing arrangement to the instruments rather than the other way round. Indeed, on first listen, Illuminations reaches a certain point where it starts to be in danger of becoming repetitive, but this is broken up by the instrumental psychedelia of Attractions, which, to me a least, is reminiscent of the Verve’s Brainstorm Interlude and adds a fresh impetus to the “proper” (if you will) songs which follow; it’s unusual that such a track stands out for me (other than to hit the fast-forward button), but there’s something entrancing about this one. Whilst I mostly enjoyed my first listen to the album and would have given it a favourable verdict on the strength of that alone, it would, however, have been hard to have avoided the criticism that this was an album lacking in variety.

As with all good albums though, the more you listen to it, the more you notice the nuances that add the real depth and quality of proceedings and on that front, Illuminations is no different. From the poppier tracks with more melodic vocal lines like Sometimes and Don’t Kiss Me to the darker, brooding numbers such as Fountains of Love, as Illuminations continues to grow on you, you’ll become more and more aware of the complexities on offer. It’s worth repeating, at this point, that this is an album that was recorded in its entirety by two people – it’s a huge compliment to the musical abilities of the Stone brothers that they’ve produced such a varied sound between them, but even more so to their writing abilities that they’ve crafted an album boasting songs of the quality on offer here.

If forced to pick a favourite track, I’d probably be inclined to opt for Waves as it’s the track which perhaps most defines Lusts sound, but in truth Illuminations is an album with which you could play at random and pick the first song to come on as a potential single. Drawing on prodigious musical ability and obvious song-writing talents, the two-piece have offered up a confident, intelligent collection of songs that belie their numbers and their inexperience on the musical scene – if this is what they can produce after less than a year as a band (although, admittedly, a life-long relationship…), Lusts have a bright future ahead of them.

Find Lusts on Facebook

Watch the Video for Waves here:

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Comments
One Response to “Album Review: Lusts – Illuminations”
  1. garyfeeney says:

    Reblogged this on General Smuts.

    Like

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