Just as one rainy British season follows another, the increasing excellence of another Speedy Wunderground alum is surely similarly guaranteed; Lazarus Kane perhaps no finer example. Their funk, Americanism-heavy swagger brought them the cult following they deserved. However, the band have just as abruptly dropped the character and thrust their complex yet incessantly repeatable song-writing onto critiquing and mimicking our “…extremely comfortable, materially focused and self-absorbed lives”.
From the angular lyrical direction in ‘Milk At My Door’; the glitchy, experimental electronics that ‘Whole Foods’ trudges out with macabre nuance – which, against the spare, softer guitar, strikes as the rotten core beneath the gleaming façade of consumerism – to the caustic, no wave hammering of the oil industry on ‘Williston, ND’, ‘Psychobabble’ presents a scathing arc on the dirty, acrid underbelly of the modern age.
The shelling of the previous Lazarus Kane guise, which frontman Ben Jakes explains as being “disingenuous to continue […] with the current state of the world”, doesn’t compromise the band’s irresistible braggadocio, instead injecting an ounce of sincerity behind the sardonic intent of lyrical jabs like “next episode”, accentuating the already vivid reality painted in ‘Milk at My Door’.
Whilst the 80’s, syrupy synths and catchy pomp, and no wave ripples provide ‘Psychobabble’ with hooks of a quality rarely found, it is the mercury-like unpredictability with which it most satisfies: the Eno-reminiscent outro of ‘Whole Foods’ confounds expectation exceptionally, while the hybridity of ‘MPS’ is even more stunningly elusive. The final track’s irrepressible, dynamic attitude – swerving through disorientating electronics and helter-skelter vocals to an abruptly slower, groove-oozing movement – is beyond enough musical alchemy for one track; yet the EP then closes with spoken-word critiquing the artistic confines placed upon acts, in a sophisticated yet effortlessly spontaneous manner only Lazarus Kane could execute.
A dramatic repudiation of any accusations of ‘just another post-punk, mass-manufactured clone’, ‘Psychobabble’ extends Lazarus Kane’s confident style and library of songwriting technique – a firm step in their evolution, and one which only begs for more.
Out on So Young Records September 10th; pre-order here.