“I wish I was nice for a while. I wish I could walk around with a smile.”
Whether the guitar at the end of third track (Discharge) on this new EP from Rotterdam’s The Lumes is being played remains to be seen. The long stretching, stream of shredding feedback that emanates seems to indicate that its been hurled into a speaker and left to pump out a noxious, squealing wail until the switch is finally flipped. Nice. The Lumes are a three piece consisting of Maxime Prins on vocals, guitar, Lennard van der Voort on bass and Mitchell Quitz hitting drum-shaped things. Where this fits I’m not entirely sure, which adds to their charm somewhat. In places, their sound reminds me of Truckfighters at double the speed, washed in a dirty swirl of grime.
The wall of sound that builds on opening track Anguish is relentless in execution. This fuzzy romp of noisy guitars, sombre vocal delivery and scratching, clipping noise blurs lines between gentle and taunt. This is also partly down to Maxime Prims’ vocal delivery, which gets progressively more agitated with a layer of seething thrown in for good measure. There’s a morose grunge-element to the bitter-sounding Slow – Maxime’s slurred vocals are buried in the shoegaze hiss of power, whilst the melody crackles and pops with dark and brooding tension. The aforementioned Discharge is scathing and brusque as the distortion levels are flicked to high alert and the final wig-out falls somewhere in the realm of Negative Space by ear-bleeders, METZ.
Other standout tracks on Envy include the watery-squeal of Feign, which seems to compact a lot of The Lumes’ sound into just under 4 minutes of scrambled noise pop. Highlights include the incredibly bored-sounding slacker-rock vocal drawl, warped laser-gun sounds halfway through (excellent use of noise right there) and the monotone delivery of the ever pessimistic line “A frown is a smile turned upside-down.” If a song could eye-roll, this one would lose its pupils inside the back of its head and never find them again – and that’s why it’s terrific. The thoughtful and scrappy Compulsion is a caustic and discordant blast of fearful energy, led by the ramshackle percussion and that ever-throbbing six-string fuzz of doom. Who Makes Me Try? brings Envy to a conclusion through the quiet/LOUD dynamic, erupting at times into this fountain of venting feedback and scything melody.
The Lumes mix that raw, bleeding noise-rock and scuzzy indie-pop in a way that doesn’t jar, but allows both elements to compliment each other and Envy is a perfect example of their discordant and oddball style.
Pre-order Envy below on vinyl or CD below.