Tuesday, August 16, 2011

lumerians - transmalinnia (2011)

Lumerians - Black Tusk by speedglueandmusic_aw
Lumerians - Hashshashin by speedglueandmusic_aw

Oakland, California, USA
Transmalinnia (Partisan, 2011)
RIYL: Can, Wooden Shjips, Dead Meadow

Despite this being easily one of my favorite albums this year, I never got an simple handle on how to describe their sound and I never got around to writing a proper review of this.  Lumerians' sound is usually referred to as "space rock" or "druid rock" in the reviews I've seen, and while neither of those terms are bad, I don't think that "space rock" really captures the groove and rhythm that Lumerians bring in their cosmic psychedelia.  Taking psychedelic rock as a template, most songs on Transmalinnia are built around looping and catchy bass melodies with hypnotic, krautrock-inspired drumming.  While your body is locked into the groove, the chiming guitars, squelchy keyboards, percussive flourishes and occasional dripping watery vocals hijack your brain and plot a course for alternate dimensions.  There's a certain amount of funk and catchiness that 70's psych and krautrock bands possessed from their rock n' roll roots that many modern psych bands lack, and I think Lumerians bring this back more successfully than any of their contemporaries.  It's the combination transporting your body and mind at the same time that makes Trasmalinnia such an exceptional record.  Lumerians' live show (which adds projected visuals and sometimes costumes) is just as remarkable and captivating; when I saw them play at aQuarius Record's anniversary show last year, I went in with no expectations and ended up feeling that Lumerians blew all the other bands off the stage (including Date Palms, who upstaged Godspeed! You Black Emperor at Great American Music Hall later last year).  While I think this album should certainly be a favorite of anyone who considers themselves a fan of psychedelic music, I also believe that this is rocking and catchy enough to appeal to even more mainstream music fans.  I can't say if this band is going to blow up, but I think they've definitely got a sound and a live show that ought to bring them wide success.  Definitely check out this record and see them live if you can.

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