Maybe it's 'cause I was home sick today and doped up on 'Tussin that the music of Lucern Raze seemed so positively mind-altering, maybe it's 'cause it is so mind-altering? I don't know. Lucern Raze is the band formed by Luke Reilly, head of PNKSLM Recordings, among other deeds. I'm here today to talk about the fairly recent Happy and Astray EP and the earlier Stockholm 1 LP. Both are mind-warpers. Both are great. Continue please.
On stuff like "Burn" from the Stockholm 1 LP, Lucern Raze impressively expand on the template being worked to death by a guy like Ty Segall. Here, Lucern Raze add something to that scuzzed out-Sixties vibe and the cut remains surprisingly nimble for something this...scuzzy. Elsewhere, on "Yours to Keep (ft. The Hanged Man)" the band add a surf vibe to the mix. The effect is reminiscent of Royal Trux with more melodic sense. The delightfully-titled "La La No" clatters past in a mess of cymbals and riffs, all snarly vocals like on the best Nuggets gems.
The tempo slows on "Someone Like You" and album closer "I'm Only Gonna Let You Down" which sounds like nothing so much as Temple Songs. It's worth noting that that makes perfect sense 'cause Temple Songs/Pink Teens frontman Jolan will be putting out an album from his new band, The Foetals, on PNKSLM in the near-future.
The Lucern Raze sound is expanded a bit on the fairly new Happy and Astray EP. Opening cut "Cheep Speed" roars like early Pixies atop some truly majestic drum-work. If the title cut sounds like mid-period Jesus and Mary Chain, "Baby J" is a more strum-riffic version of the stuff on the earlier Stockholm 1 album, equal parts catchy hooks and blasts of fuzzy gnarliness. Happy and Astray closes on the perfectly titled "Snarl" which does indeed snarl in the best possible Bobby Gillespie-at-his-worst-way. Bridging about five genres with ease, "Snarl" is exactly how to make exciting and vaguely dangerous indie rock with an emphasis on the rock portion of that term.
Lucern Raze, like Allah-Las, and label-mates Holy, make music that sounds like about a dozen different genres from various eras put together in a blender and stirred up. That the results are so strong, so coherent, and so focused says so much about the strengths of the players in Lucern Raze. Plop any one of these cuts from either the album or the EP down in the middle of your best mixt of stuff and you'll see how perfect these cuts are on their own.