Portland, Oregon's The Lovely Lost want to make timeless music, "like when you’re listening to ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ by Otis Redding," as singer Michael Collins put it. Timeless is a good way to put it, as you'll hear everything from romantic '50s ballads to storming '90s fuzz rock, on The Lovely Lost's debut EP Can You See Me Now?
The Lovely Lost love music too much to be confined to a single genre. Their music has a heavy sensibility, mainly in the tight and agitated drumming of Merlin Coryell, against a wall of grunge/shoegaze guitars. All of these influences are filtered through a classic jangle folk rock sensibility, heavy on riffs and catchy melodies, which is emphasized in the heavenly gospel harmonies of Jo Bewley, which brings sweetness and heart to the proceedings. "If you throw in a little bit of dancyness, or indie, or soul, you can please everyone," explains Michael Collins again.
Rather than watering down each individual flavor into a tasteless porridge, The Lovely Lost weave their influences into a unique whole, transforming the familiar into something new and startling. While it may not exactly be revelatory for a band to mine fuzzy '60s rock for inspiration, at this stage in the game, it IS unusual to hear it with this level of precision and intensity. There is nothing laid-back or lackluster about Can You See Me Now?
It makes you lean in, to look and listen closer. You begin to notice the details and nuances, like the fills and trills of "Breathe Again," that lovely stepladder guitar riff, which erupts into a wall-to-wall carpet of thick guitars. Or the bleak and suicidal lyrics of "Fantacide,” set to a bittersweet and infectious melody. You'll be humming along to the words, "I think I'm gonna kill myself today," without realizing it. You'd be forgiven for thinking you were listening to "China Cat Sunflower,” albeit with a particularly brutal death metal drummer.
If you dismiss The Lovely Lost at surface level, thinking that you've heard it all before, and hit the skip button, you'll be missing out on a fine jewel of jangle fuzz folk grunge. You may think you've heard it all, but you haven't. Can You See Me Now? is a solid debut offering from a band with chops and ideas. Not afraid to go their own way, do their own thing or follow their own tastes and personal vision. It should be interesting to see where their trajectory takes them.
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