The Lucid Dream: The Lucid Dream (Holy Are You Recordings)

Carlisle psychedelicists return with superlative second LP

Released Mar 30th, 2015 via Holy Are You Recordings / By Richard Lewis
The Lucid Dream: The Lucid Dream (Holy Are You Recordings) While psychedelia and its various genre permutations have been steadily bubbling up from the UK underground over the past three years, The Lucid Dream can lay claim to being one of the forms’ foremost practitioners, their stock rising steadily since their 2010 debut EP.

While 2013 debut album Songs of Lies and Deceit (review) saw the group deep in noirish garage rock territory with sinister reverb liberally applied to the drums and lead vocals, here the band move into full iridescent colour.

Opting out of an FX-pedals-at-dawn-style-duel with other psych/garage bands to see who can flay the opponents’ eardrums into submission first, The Lucid Dream sees the band journey into more expansive pastures.

Able to effortlessly flit from lengthy psych wig-outs, to surging Kosmische rhythms and concise, corrosive pop tunes, while the lyrics to the slightly submerged vocals only reveal themselves on repeated listens, lead singer Mark Emmmerson’s voice has clearly grown in confidence.

Cleverly arranged to evoke one of the band’s intense heads-down live sets where the quartet strike up the first track and barely pause for breath until the last notes have rung out, the LP approaches the run-out groove in under three quarters of an hour.

Boldly placing the album’s longest track ‘Mona Lisa’ first, the clangourous eight minute instrumental sprawl indelibly showcases the group’s live cojones, before giving way to the dark Suicide-esque rush of album trailer ‘Cold Killer’.

The marginally ponderous ‘The Darkest Day/Head Musik’ third morphs into an instrumental free-for-all during the second part of the track that slowly winds down before the fizzing opening organ riff of ‘Moonstruck’ strikes up. A brilliant exercise in hold and release, urgently rushing along without truly kicking in until the closing stretch, the track is one of band’s most immediate, barely breaking the two and a half minute barrier.

Demonstrative of how wide ranging the band’s sound now is ‘Unchained Dub’ effectively sees the band remix themselves, re-tooling last year’s single into a cavernous clatter that evokes Primal Scream’s downbeat soundtrack classic ‘Trainspotting’ with industrial clanking straight out of Walter White’s super lab. Proof of the quartet’s assuredness meanwhile comes in placing the sunshine burst of the original version, the band’s poppiest cut to date immediately afterwards.

Moving beyond its turbulent opening stretch ‘Morning Breeze’ develops into a shimmering distillation of ‘Gravity Grave’ era Verve, a succession of slowly uncoiling guitar figures.

Superb sign off track, the gorgeous swoon of ‘You & I’ proves to be something of a rarity, a lysergic pop tune in waltz time. Re-imagining Phil Spector if he hadn’t disappeared from view between 1966-70 and continued to make records into the psychedelic era, it disappears into a dense fug of guitar feedback before re-emerging into the daylight.

A decisive bloom into full Technicolor after the deep monochrome of their debut, if a benchmark were needed for psychedelia that emerges from these shores in 2015, The Lucid Dream supplies it.