Lemuria – The Distance is So Big
Bridge Nine, 2013
Acquired: Mail Order from Lemuria’s Website, New, 2013
I really don’t think 2013 has produced a better song than “Brilliant Dancer.” I’ve listened to that song a hundred times and I’m sold. Song of the Year. Hand’s down. No one else even comes close. Jenny loves it too, and I often find her singing it around the house, in the car, etc. It does everything right. It’s got a breezy intro with Sheena Ozzella’s pleasing vocals before Alex Kerns’ drums pummel their way in and the chorus totally sweeps you away. It’s like being on a boat, rolling with the waves. Imagine the empty heart meter on a video game getting filled to the brim. And the thing is, I’d be totally content with the song if it just repeated the verse and chorus for two and a half minutes, but halfway through everything switches up and Lemuria do everything they can to make it sound like a totally different song while keeping it rooted to the first part of the track. The pianos come in on the refrain of “brilliant dance dance dance dancer” and punch it into your brain and Ozzella, despite having those beautifully plain not-a-singer-singer vocals reaches absolute transcendence after that first refrain. This is what pop punk sounds like when it grows up, and it’s exhaustingly great. And that is the first fucking song on the record. What follows is the sort of tour de force that restores my faith in indie rock. This band is wonderfully inventive and has so much depth, and yet they still seem to be having a lot of fun. The hooks are like pure joy. The vocal interchanges between Ozzella and Kerns is playful and effective, and it’s one of the most replayable and straight-up fucking enjoyable albums I have had the pleasure of listening to in 2013.
Note: Every time I listen to this record, I pay a little debt to Nick Spacek, who has been responsible for introducing me to three of my favorite albums of the year via his blog Rock Star Journalist. Of all the people on earth, he is the person whose taste in music I implicitly trust the most. So while the Internet is great for letting you listen to anything you could ever want to listen to at any time, I still find it refreshing to navigate that morass of MP3s via the recommendations and/or blog post nudgings of a friend.