For Fans Of
It’s not often that a respected hardcore label signs a band which isn’t well, a hardcore band. Indie punk outfit Lemuria’s place on the Bridge 9 roster amongst bands like Cruel Hand, Defeater and Foundation is testament to their absolute quality despite not exactly fitting in with the archetypal B9 sound. Forming in 2004, Lemuria initially made a name for themselves with a string of split EP releases and appearances on a bunch of compilations, their understated and relatable lyrics and riffs oozing of nostalgia for 90s indie, punk and grunge.
In my view their debut full-length “Get Better” was one of the better albums of 2008, yet despite my anticipation for its follow-up “Pebble” I found myself sorely disappointed. For one, drummer Alex Kerns’ vocals feature far more heavily on this release than on past records, which in my eyes is not a good thing. While in moderation it accompanies Ozzella’s lead vocals really well, his apathetic drawl becomes unnecessary, tedious and boring. Another grievance is the fact that many of the band’s clever and relatable lyrics have been replaced by contrived imagery and metaphors which are just annoying.
The opener “Gravity” kicks off the album in a particularly slow and uninspiring way. The next track “Wise People” picks up a little, but its droning repetition of the phrase “here’s to you Bernard” gets annoying and leaves a lot to be desired in the lyrics department. The song “Pleaser” is a highlight, typifying this band’s introspective and catchy indie musings. Likewise “Durian” features some great poppy licks and vocal melodies. “Chautauqua County”, which the band had previously released on a teaser EP, is also one of the stronger tracks. Here Lemuria’s upbeat, simplistic punk riffs and drumming really shine, epitomising their lo-fi appeal. The contrast between Ozzella’s pretty-sounding “ohs” and gritty garage-band guitars is great.
Songs like “Yellowstone Lady” and “Different Girls” however kinda suck, probably as Kerns’ vocals dominate. Having started with a downright shitty opener, “Pebble” finishes with “The One”, another underwhelming song which arguably takes Lemuria’s typically clever and self-conscious lyrics a bit too far. The lines “you make me feel like milk phlegm” and “I’m a mosquito bite on your arm” definitely overcook the usual subtlety of their introspective lyrics, topping off what is in many respects an irritating record to digest.
Sadly “Pebble” is nowhere near as good as I would have expected. It’s less fresh, less catchy and ultimately less interesting than past efforts, which is incredibly disappointing. While promising to be one of indie’s most respected new bands, Lemuria have unfortunately failed to meet the mark set by prior releases such as “The First Collection” and “Get Better”.