Lewsberg in Leeds
Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Thursday 10th June 2021, £8.00
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The metallic, atonal guitar strum on opening song Left Turn leaves no room for discussion. This is Lewsberg at work. The unnerving sound of a revving car, handbrake on, suddenly coming to an abrupt and silent halt. Is the title of this opener a warning for the listener for the rest of the set, as if we're going down Frost's 'path less followed'? Or is it just a description of this lonesome character's unexpected behaviour in this particular song?
Lewsberg's latest offering seeps into your consciousness in a different way to their debut, though their tendency towards existentialism and black humour is present throughout. Harsher in sound, but more humane in spirit, the running order feels looser and less poised. In This House refuses to let the listener settle for a single moment, making it impossible to chart a course through the album's meandering ten songs.
In This House is full of surprises. The teasingly weak guitar break on From Never to Once. The two instrumentals Trained Eye and Interlude. Emotionally affecting Lewsberg-ballad The Door. And then there's the pairing of the last two tracks: the sluggish, druggy, fatalistic Jacob's Ladder and the wild, associative Standard Procedures. It's as if each piece works independently from the other, gazing back occasionally on what came before and, in turn, adding a different flavour to what comes next.
Cold Light of Day and Through the Garden are copybook Lewsberg. Boiling, repetitive rock songs, provocative and enchanting in their minimalism. Whilst At Lunch, seemingly innocent and carefree at the start, conjures a looming sense of doubt by its conclusion.
In this house we make mistakes
In this house we never give up
These lines from closing song Standard Procedures could be the adage of the band. Not like some sort of peptalk or an expression of winner's mentality, but as an homage to the beauty and comfort you can find in an endless muddling through.
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