Our Daily bread 406: Lucidvox ‘We Are’

October 16, 2020

Album Review/Dominic Valvona
Band Image/Anastasia Lebedeva

Lucidvox ‘We Are’
(Glitterbeat Records) 23rd October 2020

Hard as (nine inch) nails, Lucidvox’s stoic choral enwrapped vocalist Alina stands at the epicentre of a barraging storm of Amon Düül II mystical Gothics, Archers Of Loaf elliptical hardcore, Siouxsie Sioux and her Banshees fanned guitar squalled post-punk, and the growled bass reverberations of Death From Above 1979 on the Muscovite quartet’s first album for the global fecund celebrating label, Glitterbeat Records. Hell hath no fury like a scorned experimental rock band intent on a sonic knife fight. Slash and burn indeed, powered-up and unapologetic, Lucidvox mix it up with Krautrock, math rock, prog and punk yet vocally exude a counterbalance of Russian occultist pining and melodious traditional mystic folk choral cooing and spiralling siren horror.

Formed in 2013, as a “bit of a joke”, the quartet cut their teeth on Sonic Youth, Pixies, White Stripes and Warpaint covers; the latter of which proving to be the band’s most important influence. Though it must be added that none of these past entanglements are a current influence on their work.

Apart from their purring industrial strength bass-player Anna, none of the band had any prior experience; learning to play their respective instruments purely to form Lucidvox. They’ve since developed into a force-of-nature, both intense and lush, savage yet articulate, empowered but certainly vulnerable. And their latest statement of intent is a show of that empowerment: the title a shorthand for “this is who we are”.

Trying more than ever get close to their live sound and energy, Lucidvox whip up an impressive bombast of both ritualistic and staggered stuttering monolithic thrashed drumming, the holy ghosts of Russian Orthodoxy and full-on velocity Brainticket space rock. At this point I must say the quartet’s drummer, Nadezhda, deserves singling out for powering this volatile critical mass: those drums are pure monstrous.

They open this account with the pulsing specter and wail of the Caucasus cosmic-punk ‘My Little Star’, a flashpoint of Yeti era ADII The Raincoats and BaBa ZuLa. They follow that up with the elliptical Motorhead aggressive ‘Knife’.  But further on we get a roughed-up version of The Bangles, on the wrong side of the Moscow tracks, with the scuzz-grunge-rocking ‘Body’

For the first time the musical palette is expanded to include a lamenting and raspy Mexican evoking trumpet (think Miles Davis sketches of New Mexico rather than Spain) on the King Crimson hallucinatory tumult ‘Runaway’ – a song about Anna’s “troubled brother” who ended up in prison. 

For a band trying to mark out an individual female-empowered identity in a country gripped by an authoritarian carmarilla, the lyrics and themes are personal; with songs about private tragedies (see ‘Runaway’) and experiences sung, always, in the mother tongue. In a climate in which bands such as the more confrontationally political Pussy Riot have been slung in jail, poisoned (allegedly!) and intimidated, Lucidvox’s very existence can be viewed as a rebellious gesture of individualism and freedom from the less than sympathetic regime.

Rebellious dangerous but somehow dreamy and entrancing, Lucidvox prove a spellbinding brutalism of a rock band. A great energy from start to finish, We Are is definitely a highlight of 2020 for me.

See also…

Lucidvox ‘Knife’ (here…)

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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