Let’s make one thing clear: impartiality will be checked at the door for this interview, as unloved as that U2 album they tried to force into our dry, unyielding music collections. Biased? Hell yes I’m biased! This is a band I love and seen on many wonderful occasions live.
The Carlisle boys play a particularly noise heavy brand of shoegaze but their sound has evolved and is still evolving, to gain them a unique place in psych. Mark Emmerson on guitars and gadgets is an ice cool frontman. Mike Denton on bass is the Jah Wobble of the psych scene. Luke Anderson on drums is a human whirlwind. Rounding out this quartet is Wayne Jefferson on guitar, ‘the mysterious one’.
It took a long time in coming but their second album is finally amongst us…
Let’s inspect the four main peaks of this mountain range.
‘Mona Lisa’. This song has grown from a tentative puppy into a slathering hell-hound. Opening their live set for some time now, this is The Lucid Dream’s votive offering to German demigods Neu! As an opening song it delivers a power house alarm bell of what is to come, an air raid siren of intent. Comprising a rock hard, indestructible groove it gets people dancing and passes the ultimate test: you never want it to end. When this recorded version stirs into brutal life at around the 1 minute 50 mark the punishment starts. Tension is built, wires of containment are strengthened and the mind forg’d manacles of motorik locked. Luke provides a machine gun beat, as immovable as the heavens. When tension is sporadically released, waves of euphoria hit and oxygen is gulped into your breathless body.
Click to listen to ‘Mona Lisa’
Click to watch an early ‘Mona Lisa’ at the Castle 07/07/2013
‘Unchained Dub’ reigns at the centre of the album like a black hole, so dense and heavy it will suck the energy from the other albums in your music collection (bad luck for Lumerians). A raging shit storm is conjured up by Mark’s wizard weapon: the dub siren. Whirring, wailing, oscillating and spewing bad karma; it throws up energy, throws down for a fight and kicks out the mother fuckin’ jams. On top of which you have the baddest and most coolest of all instruments: the melodica. Dub siren and melodica? That’s some righteous shit.
Click to watch ‘Unchained Dub’ live at the 2014 Liverpool Psych Fest 26/08/2014.
Click to watch ‘Unchained Dub’ live at the Roadhouse 14/02/2015.
‘Morning Breeze’ for all intents is in fact ‘Sweet Hold On Me Part 2’. Continuing the epic tale from where Part 1 finished on their debut album, this is a further journey into that specific heart of darkness. Sheet ice walls of guitar cast shimmering skyscrapers of noise. One thought that sprang to mind is that here The Lucid Dream have outclassed their heroes, A Place To Bury Strangers. A bewildering, panic inducing miasma of a song.
Demonstrating an even further spreading of the wings is ‘You & I’ which amazingly, has the sharp, ice cream tang of doo-wop. All of a sudden Carlisle is left behind; the boys have travelled through a space-time portal and found themselves in a world of huge cars with tail fins, cheap sci-fi monsters and taking your girl for a milkshake. Hearing such a gorgeous 50s sound, fed through a shoegaze filter is the first revelation, the second is the discovery that the Lucid Dream can now nail the slowies too… All I know is I love it and I want more…
Production is immaculate, there is a lot going on here, yet all is pieced together beautifully. If I had one complaint it would be that Mike’s bass is a little low. The album sounds as airtight and imposing as Metal Box and as claustrophobic as Heaven Up Here.
An album to last for the ages…