EP review: Toronto’s The Luvmenauts release electro-jazz delight, ‘Extravehicular Activity’

by Lara Eidi , March 13 2021

If you needed an excuse to have a party in your socially distanced house featuring yourself, your cat, and maybe your significant other, then this is it: Toronto-based collective The Luvmenauts have released a psychotropic trip to the moon and back with their shapeshifting kaleidoscopic EP, their fourth release, Extravehicular Activity. Truly, a sonic vehicle into the unknown.

The six-track EP is a highly charged fusion trip in itself, complete with loopy grooves, progressive harmonic transitions verging on the frenetic, and somehow an ode to past science fiction film composers. This is definitely a kind of music for a niche audience, which is refreshingly original amidst the output of ‘genre’ work out there.

Subtle yet cleverly designed audio nods to film composers like Janko Nilovic, Piero Umiliani, and Alan Hawkshaw are evident throughout; what enables the band to stand out in their own right is the inclusion of guest instrumentalists, in particular jazz saxophonist Leland Whitty, adding a melodic vibe to the disco-jazz funk appeal of tracks like “Solstice And Equinox”. #

It’s also the group’s uncanny ability to quite literally take the audience on a defiant journey through space and time, at once familiar like the cinematic space travel of “Rasputin Mystic Frozen Appendage Pts. 1 &2”. It’s no wonder this talented collective featuring core trio Andrew Moljgun (keys), Josh Cavan (guitar), Alex Furlott (bass), and Jon Hyde (drums) are truly diverse in their compositional and performative skills.

They’ve released music to major media and film corporations like Netflix, The History Channel, yet shared the stage with musicians such as Seun Kuti and Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble. The track “Spice Always Flows” feels like it could sit somewhere in between those rather experiential realms, which seems rather fitting for the band’s take on creating a universe outside of their own.

True to its intergalactic name, the title track “Extravehicular Activity” seems almost completely different in mood to the rest of this highly rhythmic and musically complex EP.

It’s a perfect way to end this wonderfully original trip to outer space. True to the collective’s intention to pay homage to the sounds of the past, in this track one can totally see a space in which they write for a film that was never released. Sure, there’s some old-school funk and even earlier sounds of Pink Floyd there, but once the piano comes waltzing in you’re suddenly somewhere in between space and earth, time and a moment of time.

Shapeshifting, genre defying and pleasantly eclectic; a true transcendental journey into space!

The Luvmenauts drop Extravehicular Activity on March 26th, when it will be available on all major platforms.

Check out more by The Luvmenauts over at Bandcamp,

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