Over recent months, PNKSLM label head and Sex Beet member Luke Reilly has been busy juggling the commitments of putting out some of the best music around whilst writing and recording his own solo project. After enlisting help from various parts of the PNKSLM roster to help with live duties, Reilly set out to deliver a physical release. After a few teasers, ‘Stockholm One’ has arrived to kick away what’s left off the winter cobwebs.
From the opening notes of the infectious first single, ‘Sunshine Blues‘, it was clear that Lucern Raze were going to be a blast. Wasting no time in deliberation, a riotously fun racket was unleashed. ‘Someone Like You‘, on the other hand, was the comedown after the party. A tale of something lost amidst the chaos of all the fun that was being had, set to a metronome drum beat and guitars reminiscent of Parquet Courts latter work.
Elsewhere, the rest of the album never really hits these polar extremes, instead exploring the fertile ground in between without ever settling into mediocrity. The swaggering confidence of opening track, ‘Carana‘, is bound to draw comparisons to the southern-fried rock’n’roll of The Black Lips, as will the shuffling “Burn”. The quite-loud cover of Teddybears “Yours to Keep” is nothing short of brilliant, a perfectly timed pause before the chorus the highlight that still manages to take you by surprise even after repeated listens. Reilly seems to be channeling the Swedish outfit’s sense of playfulness as well as craft, which is what makes ‘Stockholm One’ pure audio escapism. It certainly says something when by far the heaviest moments of the album are sandwiched between the rockabilly surf riff and juvenile “la la la”s of ‘Stockholm Syndrome‘.
“Hej“, on the other hand, has the same understated cool of the sublime “Easy Rider” from Ty Segall and Tim Presley’s collaboration record, ‘Hair’. Light work is made of the breezy, straight up pop punk of “La La No” while the end-of-the-pier garage rock of ‘The Ballad of Falugatan’ gives the spotlight to a Wurlitzer melody in the place of any real chorus. Perhaps only “Perfect Crime” comes close to treading over familiar ground, but it’s fun nonetheless and no doubt even more so in a live context. Closing the album is “I’m Only Going To Let You Down“, Reilly sounding genuine in his fear over being the source of another’s disappointment, yet never going so far as to allow the sentiments to get in the way of a cacophonous climax of wailing guitars and chamber reverb.
Lucern Raze successfully delivers the raw energy and lack of sentiment that it was intended to. Reilly stands out as not just a authority on all matters garage-rock, but a fine craftsman of it as well, the record embodying all the mysterious psych and, most importantly, lackadaisical and gratified nature of all of the rare classics. This is an album of real quality, which beneath all the raucous bombast, delivers simply great songs which go way beyond any current obsession with all things lo-fi. It’s weird, off-beat, playful and in the case of the final track, surprisingly tender. The variety in the songs that were put out prior to the albums full release hinted at something special, something that is fully realised on ‘Stockholm One’.