So, LUH. Lost Under Heaven. The bastard of WU LYF, brainchild of Ellery James Roberts, cohort of bands at the thrall of their own worthiness. It’s a sense of self-importance that a band like Money just about clung to on their latest album, but it’s a sense that becomes quite a drag on this record.
It’s evident pretty much in the title itself: Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing. Sure there are moments where those dream-flecked guitars seem like they’re verging on transcendental, but to be honest it’s Roberts himself who dashes any such notion of zen. He roars when he should coo, he accelerates when he should dial it down, hell he even goes all metal on Unites and brings any sense of spirituality crashing down to earth. And through it all, of course, there’s an unspoken notion of knowing and admiring its own gravitas.
But by Christ, there’s something hypnotic about it all. The sudden change in pace on Future Blues – led by the unbridled and effortless charm of Ebony Hoorn – feels like a different band altogether, but somehow the balance of fragile and visceral actually works. It’s in moments like these and Someday Come, sadly all too few, where the album does touch notions of a higher plane; and certainly there’s gusto and a gut-wrenching ache in the rest of it, but subtlety and spirituality feel like they should be tight bedfellows. By keeping them apart, Roberts and his Spiritual Songs feel far too lost in their own self-worth and drama to be overly relevant to anyone else. Kinda like the lovers singing them, we imagine.