Lemuria - The Distance Is So Big

To hear this album without a beaming smile slapped across your face is difficult.

Label: Bridge9

Rating: 7

Lemuria are a band often lumped in the ‘punk’ bracket. Their tireless DIY touring schedule and penchant for sweat drenched live shows in basements and bedrooms has left them loved by fans who might traditionally like their music with more of a buzzsaw feel and killer instinct. But in truth their sweet and sugary indie is the sort that can and should be being enjoyed by a broader audience than the Buffalo trio have thus far been able to reach.

All this could be set to change though with the release of their new LP ‘The Distance Is So Big’ which brings together everything the band have done previously and refines the formula to the point of near perfection. From the relentlessly catchy chorus of ‘Brilliant Dancer’ in the albums opening salvo to the dulcet closing tones of ‘Ruby’ Lemuria gambol from one track to the next with shimmering ease, effortlessly knocking out moments of distilled beauty imbued with a sense of self-effacing modesty that only the most concrete of hearts could fail to warm to. Sheena Ozzella’s voice is as lilting and hypnotic as ever, teasing out the hooks of tracks like ‘Scienceless’ with a subtlety that will prick your ears on the first listen but will be truly under your skin by the fourth or fifth. The harmonies she shares with drummer Alex Kerns have a fragile quality to them but are well worked enough that they are never anything less than pleasing embellishments in songs that feel simple yet have onion-like layers of complexity written into them.

The understated brilliance of tunes like ‘Oahu, Hawaii’ and the sprawling Hey Mercedes-esque ‘Chihuly’ are mid-album gems which serve as testament to the consistency of what is on offer here; a search for a weak link revealing tracks which are maybe less immediate, but still of fine quality once you let them wash over you. More than anything though this is a record which feels warmed by summer sun, reminiscent of misty sunsets to blistering mid-mornings it listens like an album made by a band from California rather than New York - to hear it without a beaming smile slapped across your face is difficult, to do so without even the flicker of a grin, surely impossible.