It’s always really interesting to hear bands that take a well established genre of music and attempt to put their own, unique spin on it. I’ve found that I get some of the best and some of the worst work from bands that do this. I think it’s probably because there are two types of groups that fit in with this mold: the people that attempt to stick as closely as possible to their influences, who are themselves unique, or the people that don’t really mind straying off and doing their own thing. From personal experience, it is a lot more fun to listen to groups that fit in with the latter as opposed to the former. Lutra Lutra, a new(ish) group from Alberta, Canada that just released their debut, eponymous EP Lutra Lutra, seems to fit in with the latter, stamping their own spin on heavily rhythmic, alternative influenced rock.
As previously hinted, Lutra Lutra’s music is densely rhythmic, taking a lot of interesting twists and turns that keep the music interesting and at times a bit unexpected. Songs such as “What We’ve Lost” demonstrate their ability to cohesively weave in and out of different textures and rhythms whilst maintaining a smooth nature. The movements of the music and how the instrumentation subsequently carved itself around the harmonizing vocal lines was definitely a high point of the EP.
My biggest issue with the music lies within the aspect that most of the vocals sounded like they came from a musical starring two conflicted lovers. Both of the voices, in my opinion, almost sounded too clean. The female voice in particular, although the tone was both gorgeous and the pitch was pretty much perfect, sounded a bit too articulate and exact for the rougher sounding instrumentation below it. I think a lot of that issue results from the fact that, although the music was produced almost flawlessly, the vocals lie super high within the mix, constantly establishing themselves as the focal point of the songs, which I think detracts from the music.
Due to the combination of the overly present vocals combined with the emphatic nature lyrical articulation, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was listening to a dramatic conversational narrative between the male and female voices. However, with this being said, I found that the two vocalists work very well together. Their tones melded together very nicely and their harmonies were beautiful. I just feel that they were a bit misplaced.
Lutra Lutra definitely possess a lot of talent— there is no arguing that. If they find a way to successfully blend their instrumentation with their vocals in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the dynamic nature of either, I think they can establish the musical presence that they are striving toward.
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