By Wally Perez
Artist: Lost Under Heaven
Album: Love Hates What You Become
Release Date: Jan. 18, 2019
Lost Under Heaven, the art-rock duo composed of former WU LYF member and leader Ellery Roberts and artist Ebony Hoorn, follow up their 2016 debut Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing with Love Hates What You Become, an erratic composition of noise pop with rich synths, spastic electronic beats and emotional vocals.
Released Jan. 18, 2019, the album touches on topics of love, loss and existentialism. A common theme of finding oneself and dealing with one’s mortality is heavily noted in the lyricism. The band has created an album perfect for a cloudy, gloomy day when things might not being going your way. Whether or not that’s a good thing is a matter of personal opinion. Sometimes you just want to listen to emo music with the shades drawn, hoping for a better tomorrow.
Machine-like samples and tones are on full display immediately on the album’s opener, “Come,” where heavy synths and electronic drums lead the way accompanied by a raging Roberts. It’s not exactly an angry rage, but a storm of heavy-handed lyricism relating to the end of the world and what comes after. Roberts lulls, “As we end I know heaven adores me now,” in the bridge before the song climaxes and Roberts ends with, “Come form with me/Transcend our duality.”
The vibe carries into “Bunny’s Blues,” where Hoorn takes over on vocals backed by the familiar synth sounds from “Come.” But where the previous track was a typhoon of metallic-sounding energy, the verses on “Bunny’s Blues” are much more lax and reminiscent of Romy Madley Croft’s of The xx. It isn’t until the chorus when the drums kick in and Hoorn howls, “You don’t understand me/You don’t understand,” that the familiar energy from the album’s opener returns.
A good chunk of the album spews industrial sound (think Nine Inch Nails), but for a portion in the middle the mood shifts to a chain of serenading tracks. Roberts returns on “The Breath of Light,” a somber ballad where his harrowing vocals shine through and the instrumentation takes a backseat. This pattern continues for the next three songs with additional vocals from Hoorn sprinkled throughout. It’s in these tracks that we get a better introduction to familiar instruments with the use of guitar making a defined appearance and the chaotic electronic beats fade for a minute.
The fervent vocal performances from the slower tracks returns on “Post Millennial Tension,” an anthem of unifying in times of questioning the unforeseen future and what it holds for us. Although the somewhat depressing atmosphere is still prominent, the song is somewhat inspirational and leaves you with hope. Especially with the chorus, “Everbody singing f*** the world/Close your eyes, we will be alright/All the lovers singing this our world/Do we stand, take up the fight?”
Most of the album works well, and the passion that Roberts and Hoorn put into it is admirable, but it’s best listened to in smaller doses. There are moments when the overall sound gets old and songs where Roberts’ vocals are pretty unintelligible. Whether that’s intended or not, it doesn’t exactly elevate the music and seems like a classic case of artistic expression. Roberts puts a lot of emotion into his voice on many of the tracks, but it seems overdone and almost too emotional– melodramatic even. It’s almost eye-rolling at some points.