One of the interesting things about punk’s first few runs was watching which way the waves broke in the mid-’80s—at the risk of waaaay oversimplifying things for the sake of a lame metaphor, one direction went the way a crappy glam metal, one went the way of speed metal, and yet another laid the foundation of what became known as “alternative rock.” Those that chose the latter—Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, Die Kreuzen, Replacements, Minutemen, M.I.A., Washington DC’s hardcore faction, and many, many others—took the intensity and creativity that fueled so much of those early first waves and added liberal doses of art-rock, roots rock, and pop to come up with varied hues of sound with the only unifying factor being a desire to push beyond the boundaries that the puritanical hordes had tried to fence everything in with. Though not always with the exact same results, subsequent waves of punk have ultimately bred similar moments when clusters said “fuck the rules” and strived for something off the beaten path. Lemuria falls squarely in this tradition. Melding hardcore heft (you can almost feel the weight of them guitars when they kick in) with egghead structures, effective vocal interplay, and delicate pop hooks, they deliver a full-length’s worth of tunes filled with fun contradictions—heavy but light, intense but laid back, complex but accessible. I imagine Bridge Nine regulars looking for something to succeed the thick-necked virulence of Agnostic Front’s most recent endeavor will likely be put off by “wimpy” shit like this at first blush, but those who take a moment to actually digest what’s going might actually find much here to keep them coming back.
–jimmy (Bridge Nine)