This Lushes article was written by Jack Dodd, a GIGsoup contributor. Lead photo by Brian Geltner
Have you ever been in one of those adolescent bands that you think no one will ever hear, paired with the only other wannabe musician in school? Having learned how to properly tune a guitar in your smelly bedroom, you bash out a few songs that you think sound decent and different to everything else. Then after six months, with no gigs and a growing resentment for each other, you part ways and the songs never see the light of day.
Lushes seem to be that band. Except that they stuck together, played a load of gigs and are now due to release their sophomore record ‘Service Industry’. The Brooklyn-based duo are experimental to say the least, and sometimes it works and sometimes it meanders off hopelessly into a barrenness of boredom.
Opener ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ sets the tone for the rest of the album. Dark aggressive guitar lines surround the deep, drawling vocals of frontman James Ardery and the drums of Joel Myers. Imagine John 5 jamming with Lou Reed and you will get a good idea of the spectrum of Lushes’ musical palette. This continues on ‘Bleach’, as Ardery sings that he “bought myself some bleach, I know it’s gonna sting,” and the song meanders on down a valley of disillusionment and sadness that is personified by haunting synths and an unescapable feeling of dread.
The album as a whole seems to be a sarcastic and horrifying ode to the mundaneness of working in the service industry – and anyone who has done so will find it hard to disagree. This is epitomised on lead single ‘Circus’, when Ardery proclaims that “we’re in the service industry and it’s a joke.” It’s clear on the record that this joke isn’t funny and has pushed the two musicians to their limit.
The main problem with ‘Service Industry’ is that there simply isn’t enough variation to keep the attention of the listener the whole way through; it would work a lot better as the soundtrack to an indie horror movie. Perhaps the songs need to be seen in a live setting to grasp the full effect. Half of the production on the record was done by Jonathan Schenke – who has previously worked with Parquet Courts – and while some similarities can be noted, Lushes lacks the energy and originality of melodic invention that defines the former. Therefore the album becomes a struggle, and a tedious one at that; ironically, much like the service industry itself.
‘Service Industry’ by Lushes is out on 16th October via Felte.