Say Psych: Album Review: The Lucid Dream – Actualisation

Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream are back with a new LP, Actualisation, which was released last week on Holy Are You Recordings, much to the delight of their fiercely loyal fan base. Having formed in 2008 they have a string of sold-out 7″s under their belt, as well as LP’s Songs Of Lies and Deceit released August 2013, self-titled The Lucid Dream released March 2015 and Compulsion Songs released September 2016.

Actualisation was penned over the summer of 2017 by Mark Emmerson (vocals/guitar/synth), using only the classic Roland 303/808 synths, bass and vocals as tools for writing. Inspiration came from continuous listening to the Chicago to UK acid house movement of 1986-1992, with the focus remaining firmly on the groove. Several months later the fourth album was recorded at Whitewood Studios, Liverpool, with Rob Whiteley and produced alongside long-time collaborator Ross Halden (Ghost Town Studios, Leeds) with mastering honours falling to Dean Honer (All Seeing I/I Monster/The Moonlandingz).

Opening the album is ‘Alone In Fear’, a nine minute sonic afront, grounded by haunting repetition and catchy beats. Fuelled by the current state of British politics and the realisation of what 2018 offers up, it bites hard and doesn’t let up. It contains elements that fans know and love from TLD whilst offering something entirely new and intriguing. ‘Zenith (Part 1)’ and ‘Zenith (Part 2)’ commence with your atypical acid house instrumental featuring sirens and infectious beats. Building in layers as they progress, they advance to a deep groove that is certain to get dance floors moving across Europe. Next comes ‘SX1000’ which was released as a 12” single earlier this year. This track picked up plaudits from icons such as Andrew Weatherall and Bernie Connor first time round and is certain too pick up more this time due its Hacienda tendencies.

‘Breakdown’ harks back to the band’s past, serving up a raw slice of psychedelia and showcasing where the band came from in its purest form. ‘Ardency’ continues the acid house fusion theme and has already become a firm feature in the bands live set. Its funky bass groove leads the way and creates a buoyant interplay with the vocals. ‘No Sunlight Dub’ closes the album, utilising the Roland 808 into their dub mix. The track makes a stop-off into drum ‘n’ bass along its meandering journey before rounding up in a manner suited to Lee Perry, King Tubby and other Jamaican greats.

The Lucid Dream have once again pushed the boundaries of genre, playing with sound and creating something entirely their own – and done it exceedingly well. If you find a more refreshing album this year, I’d be surprised.

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