After a highly impressive set at the soon to be legendary Liverpool Psychedelic Festival 2013, Carlisle outfit The Lucid Dream timely released their debut album, Songs Of Lies & Deceit…
But within a peak of psych revival, does the album cut the mustard? Yes, quite simply. But for a more detailed answer, let’s take a journey through the album.
Thumping drums and an air raid siren get the album off to explosive style on “How’s Your Low When You’re Low Alone” before exhausting guitar patterns burn into your retinas like the neon of passing juggernauts at night. Sounds like a team of Roman Gladiators having a ruck with a Predator. Chiming, trance inducing guitars lead the song in a barrage against your senses. (Incidentally, if you haven’t turned the volume way up, do so now).
“Glue” continues the pace with a frenetic onrush of drums and chainsaw scree of guitars. As noisy and chaotic as a one man band falling down the stairs.
“Love In My Veins” has a wearing-shades-indoors brio. ‘Heading For The Waves’ has a laid back vibe mixed with spaghetti western shuffle. Less effects driven then the rest of the album, it shows that this song is older than some of its counterparts. Interesting to hear a clearer, less aggressive cut and to see where the band went from this point.
‘Heartbreak Girl’ stops and starts like an F1 car trying to find a parking space in a Sainsbury’s car park.
‘Heading For The Waves’ has a lilting end-of-the-party glow. This is maybe one song where less effects on the vocals would help. A delicious, jangling slice of poppy psych, although again it seems like something of a museum piece.
Similarly ‘In Your Eyes’ has a sunny jangle reminiscent of The La’s. Like an ice-cold cider it hits the spot with a satisfying crisp freshness. Overall these 4 songs have a lighter, more playful tone that shows a different path the band may have taken. A bit like Back To The Future Part 2 except with the middle bit the happy bit.
“A Mind At Ease Is A Mind At Play” picks up the pace with a frenetic garage rock pace backed by space rock keyboards. A roller coaster of forward momentum, it’s punch-the-air goodness.
‘The Twilight End’ has a simple beautiful riff to power it. The guitar work throughout this album is just stunning.
The stand out track is “Sweet Hold On Me”. Occupying the last last-track-freak-out slot it takes an earworm mantra and explore its many shades and hues for your listening delight. Bright, insistent and trippy, it’s 9 + minutes soars by in a whirlwind of fun; it is a highlight of modern psych. It’s struck me what this song is like: Colin McRae Rally 2.0 on the Playstation. Go with me on this. On one of the Australia courses there was a long dusty straight next to a railway track where you could just floor it, nail the accelerator (OK, the X button) and go for broke. Back of your mind though is the hard right that ends the straight and you would have to nail the hand brake, but you just want to keep going faster, see just how fast you can your pixellated Ford Focus. That’s what this song is like, an unstoppable pursuit for more.
It maybe a lazy comparison but the Stone Roses spring to mind with the band’s swagger and confidence, giving the downbeat, introspective genre of shoegaze a confidence and sure footedness it often lacks. As you’d expect, vocals are buried deep in the mix, providing shade more than poetry. Having supported the immense A Place To Bury Strangers, the band have clearly been influenced by ‘The loudest band in New York’. The Lucid Dream play an attacking, front game with their shoegaze, more Flintoff than Boycott.
Having seen the band live 7 times their prowess on stage can be confirmed. Rail thin bassist Mike Denton is becoming the best in the scene and with the talk of future material going in a dub direction then maybe he could well prove to be the Jah Wobble of the Psych scene. Meanwhile Alex Emmerson is a born front man, though his lime light is occasionally stolen by a gorgeous blue Vox guitar that always turns heads (seriously, it’s divine).
Beg, steal or borrow this album. Actually, don’t do any of those things: just buy it. Then tell other people to buy it.