Berlin-based Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys presents her sixth album ‘Heaving’ via Unique Records, a division of Schubert Music, Metropolis Records and The Orchard. This offering from the South African-born artist is full of atmosphere and intensity. Defiant and devastating, catchy and cutting, Kruger uniquely merges moody art pop, dark folk and delightful ambient noise.
The first musical departure from her ‘Tapes Trilogy’, ‘Heaving’ is a vivid, visceral and unbounded exploration of sonic storytelling. Relying on the idea articulated by poet and essayist Anne Carson that “every sound we make is a bit of autobiography. It has a totally private interior yet its trajectory is public. A piece of inside projected to the outside”, Kruger dove into the composition process through performance, rather than with the pen. The album offered the artist, and hopes to offer the audience, a coming home to the body through a physical relationship to sound.
“I wanted to reach a sub layer of my skin, and of the song. To get closer to the sound, effort and energy of the pulse that pushes and pulls me, both violently and tenderly. To draw something out, mostly through the use of my voice, which in the moment of experimenting and writing, I understood to be a part of my body, myself, being offered up, without knowing how that offering would present itself. To invite strangeness. To risk oozing and excess. Or the opposite.” says Lucy Kruger.
Kruger didn’t want to relay something as much as to discover – and then transmit – what is there. “There is something about the physical act of singing and shaping sounds that allows one to transcend the usual cerebral boundaries of the written or conventionally spoken word. Melody, rhythm and rhyme have the capacity to carry one into a more intuitive state, in which words and phrases are less bound by pre-conceived concepts,” says Kruger.
Kruger uses the pulses, the judders, the throbbing, and the echoes afforded by electronic elements to entrance the body, while the lyrics confront and converse in a more explicit way – trying to merge and experiment with different forms of feeling and processing. Kruger explains, “I wanted to speak directly to big, scary and seductive ideas and experiences. Around desire, fear of death, damage, disintegration, deep love – its opposite, if there is – and its accompanying loneliness.”
Joining Kruger in carving out these detailed and idiosyncratic soundscapes are Liú Mottes (guitar, bass synthesiser, bass guitar, piano), Martin Perret (drums), Jean-Louise Parker (violin, voice), Calvin Siderfin (bass), Andreas Miranda (bass), Gidon Carmel (drums) and André Leo (guitar).
Encapsulating a full spectrum of sound, ‘Heaving’ is striking in the changeability in its 10 songs. ‘Burning Building’ thrives in sudden shifts of tone and volume and vocal phrasing that turn this short, spiky track into a post-punk anthem for the time. Two songs later, ‘Front Row’ takes its time, slowly unwinding a story of desire on the back of muted percussion, eerie guitars, full throated bass, and near hymnal-backing vocals.
Although lyrically it draws on deeply personal experiences, Heaving also has flashes of humour that veils or highlights truths – a playfulness that subverts and invites honesty. Kruger also wanted to expand, stretch and dramatise her approach to songwriting on this album – to push her voice and performance until something new appeared.
The title track ‘Heaving’ – a word that recurs throughout the 10 songs – carries with it both the effort and inevitability involved in the process, and in the themes Kruger explores. A crowded room of sweating bodies heaves; there is the heaving of her chest; the strata heaves with the faulting of a rock; the way she heaves a sigh of relief. It is a visceral and physical experience.
“I wanted this album to be less ethereal somehow. Rooted in the depths, of my body, of my lover’s body, of the earth, where it is dark and wet, and where you might find rot but you will also certainly find life. To somehow get pulled into the moment, through a focus on sensation. A lot of the lyrics deal with touch, smell, taste. The body, and all it holds, imagined intimately, almost as landscape, but also for what it is. And for what will happen to it in time. A reckoning with death and loss that might allow for a more vibrant understanding and engagement with life.”
‘Feedback Hounds’ imagines the chest, heart, and body as a reverberant cave, in which the hounds – close to loneliness – howl, causing a feedback loop. The longer they remain, the louder they become and the less likely they are to be allowed out. ‘Bring my friends to kiss my mouth – skin to soothe the feedback hounds’. The song is a subversive and melodic map that tricks the listener into coming closer – a chance to connect, through the safety, or the veil, of song. A desperate, non-commital invitation that sits perfectly amidst the push and pull of this album.
The band, who have earned a reputation for their engaging and intense live performances, will be touring this album, having kicked off their European tour on April 4. The official launch takes place on May 5 at the Lido in Berlin.
The ‘Heaving’ LP is out now and is available from fine music platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. Get the album at https://orcd.co/heaving and learn more at www.lucykrugerandthelostboys.com