Reviews: LUH's Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing; Twin Peaks' Down in Heaven

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LUH’s Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing

by Raj Dayal

About five years ago, the Manchester band WU LYF (World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) set the music world ablaze with overwhelming hype and unbridled arrogance. They mostly delivered on the promise with Go Tell Fire to the Mountain. Frontman Ellery Roberts howled angrily announcing a band positioned for a movement. Sadly, that movement began and ended with the band’s only album.

Roberts hasn’t lost his polarizing, wild and graveled-voice wail. There is something primitive in his approach to music. His new band with Dutch artist Ebony Hoorn and production help from the Haxan Cloak, LUH (Lost Under Heaven), retains some of that old magic and builds on the short-lived legacy of his previous band with Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing. An album of love songs for a new world with the old longings.

The lead single, “I&I”, finds Hoorn’s gentle mimicry complementing Roberts’ harsher angles as they bring about the beginning of the day: “There’s signs in this early morning/ As mindful you wake from your sleep/ There’s life in the early morning/ A life you want to lead.” This contemplative and hopeful sentiment would surely bring about eye-rolling if they both didn’t appear so sincere.

On album standout “$ORO,” Roberts’ and Hoorn’s voices are run through Auto Tune, challenging the privileged group of their scorn, and builds to the grand electronic climax. And it all sounds gloriously like Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street admonishing outsiders from the gates of hell.

On Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing, Roberts and Hoorn deliver a beautiful album filled with bombastic, gothic and anthemic hymns that aim for deliverance. B PLUS

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Twink Peaks’ Down in Heaven

by Luke Fowler

Twin Peaks have virtually nothing in common with David Lynch's masterwork television series, but that’s not a bad thing, even if it does make introducing them to newcomers a headache. (“Hey, have you heard the new Twin Peaks song?” “Wait, the season three score is already out?” etc.) The Twin Peaks of the music world trade misty synthesizers for down-and-dirty garage jams, a secluded spot in Washington State for the bustle of Chicago, and acid trip dream sequences for copious amounts of marijuana. (If their music doesn't convince you of that last one, their Twitter feed will.) The end result is an album that doesn't offer much variety, but when everything from the first guitar tone to the final fade out is this energetic and flat-out fun, I don’t mind as much. 

“Walk to the One You Love” is a double-edged sword of an opener, because by showing off all the band's best qualities (authentic bluesy electric guitar riffs, appealingly simple lyrics, and a vocal combination of Dylanesque drawl and throaty yelling) it simultaneously cements itself as the unequivocal best track and gives away almost all of the album’s neatest tricks at its start. Because of this, a lot of the subsequent tracks (the slower ones especially—“Wanted You” is an early example) start to blend together and even drag at times, and there’s only so much superficial enjoyment you can get from an album that feels this long (it’s only 13 tracks and 43 minutes, but I was surprised it was under an hour when I first listened). 

Despite this, there’s plenty of substance to be found here if you look hard enough; “Keep It Together” (probably the second-best track) has a sweet driving percussion line, and the horns that come in toward the end of “Lolisa” are a welcome touch. All in all, though, Twin Peaks aren’t doing a whole lot that hasn't been done before. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t having a whole lot of fun doing it. B