For the entirety of his time in music to date, Ellery Roberts has patently fancied himself as a bit of an enigma; between their guerrilla live ethic and obstinate engagement with publicity, his old band WU LYF made mystery their calling card, and the moment that they began to shift shape into something more orthodox, he abruptly departed.
After a while in the wilderness, he returned two years ago, with he and his girlfriend Ebony Hoorn having crafted Lost Under Heaven in a similar aesthetic to early WU LYF. The rolling drama of their stirring debut ‘Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing’ came accompanied by oblique manifestos that hinted at radically progressive politics to complement the self-described ‘future blues’ on the record, which apparently stylistically involved everything from simmering piano drama (‘I&I’) to thumping dystopian rave (‘$ORO’).
On the sprawling ‘Love Hates What You Become’, the pair have spread their wings yet further. Opener ‘Come’ is a pummelling, glitchy piece of techno that suggests that they haven’t swung towards subtlety in the past couple of years. In actual fact, though, there’s plenty of slow simmer, too - not least because Ebony chips in far more on the vocal front than last time. The resulting back-and-forth between herself and Ellery - her honeyed tones set against his unmistakably raspy roars - is enthralling, and holds up regardless of musical backdrop. There’s low-key moments of genuine menace (‘Black Sun Rising’, the disquieting churn of ‘Serenity Says’) and some major key nods towards anthemic territory, too - ‘Post Millennial Tension’ a case in point. “Our generation’s gone, but still we sing our love song,” goes the repeated line, and you realise that Lost Under Heaven don’t really make ‘future blues’. This is music for the here and now.