Carlisle’s The Lucid Dream return with the release of their fifth album, The Deep End out now, after some delays, on Holy Are You Recordings.
The Lucid Dream’s previous album, Actualisation, was released in 2018 and continued their musical development whilst becoming their most commercially successful record yet. The album made a dent in the physical Official UK album chart as well as gaining huge plaudits in the shape of legendary influence Andrew Weatherall (who included “SX1000” in his NTS summer mix) and BBC Radio 6 Music. Sold out UK headline dates coincided with the band being selected as UK tour support to psych legends, Wooden Shjips. The album tour wrapped up with main stage support to New Order at Bluedot Festival.
The new album builds upon the acid house influences of the former but ventures into many new paths. Hip hop, techno, drum ‘n’ bass and other ‘genres’ sneak into the creative palette whilst also staying true to the band mantra of throwing the rule book out of the window, as far as ‘boundaries’ are concerned. The album was penned over the Spring of 2019 by Mark Emmerson (vocals/guitar/synths). Again, Roland 303/808 synths, bass and vocals were key tools for writing, whilst the Roland SH01a found its way onto the team sheet, as well as a sampler for the first time.
Opening with ‘Coalescence’, an eleven-minute number with an infectious bass hook and a dance laden beat. It’s a statement of optimism that belongs firmly in the clubs; the type of track that when the gigs finally return later this year, will have everyone pogoing merrily like in the days of old. Lead single ‘CHI-03’ is a clear continuation of the ground trodden in Actualisation, and whilst most of their psych-hard following will raise an eyebrow at this, anyone who appreciates innovation in music will jump in hard. The track was recorded in March 2019 and the speech samples within it almost pre-empt the horror and hatred that unfolded in both the USA and UK in the latter stages of 2019 onwards. ‘Leave Me in the Dark’ is a seven-minute odyssey that traverses so many genres its hard to pinpoint. Its raw energy is invigorating, with a sinister edge lurking below that pays homage to its title. The use of the melodica and Marks’s characteristic vocals mark it as a Lucid Dream track, even if the music does not.
‘Fight to Survive’ offers an 80s reduced beat, with psychedelic high-pitched synths punching through, it is a complex mix of sounds that on their own wouldn’t work, yet combined they make something fresh and biting, with provocative lyrics adding an extra edge. ‘Sunrise’ is pure Balearic vibes, basic and unadulterated, do not overthink it, just move. Concluding ‘High and Wild’ is the most conventional guitar song on the album, and this track won’t be found near a dance floor. More suited for the times after when the highest highs bring the real lows. It’s a thing of beauty, that rounds off a whirlwind 35 minutes of intensity neatly.
The Lucid Dream have themselves joked that they are ‘psych traitors’ with the direction they have taken, but is it not better to seem them as musical pioneers who are brave enough to venture into such waters? Make your mind up for yourself by listening to The Deep End loudly, more than once.