It wasn't so long along Italian Vogue declared Dalston "the coolest place on earth". Such is the way of these things that title will have passed on to the next faddiest part of town by now. Not that the vagaries of fashion are of much concern to The Lucid Dream who rocked up on a visit to East London on Tuesday and took the stage wearing four different Carlisle United football shirts; a garish colour clash even the most psychedelic imagination would have trouble conjuring. It's symptomatic of their uncompromising and willfully outsiderish nature.
They've already released about half a dozen singles and an album, 2013's Songs Of Lies And Deceit, yet with their eyes always looking ahead they played almost exclusively from their forthcoming album, The Lucid Dream, which isn't out for another month. It's a cracking album which opens with two almighty tracks. "Mona Lisa" sets the tone, an eight and a half minute instrumental of Kraut rock rhythms, pirouetting guitar shapes, a wall of white noise, phasing and supersonic (boom) space travel. "Cold Killer" follows in a similar style, with vocals this time plus stabs of jagged guitar piercing the skin, and two tracks in I'm already thinking this could be the best UK guitar album since I don't know when. Brain meltingly good.
The opening moments of "The Darkest Day/Head Musik" offer respite from the full bodied attack but with a thump-thumping rhythm it doesn't take long for more guitar to increase the pace and off into its slipstream the listener is pulled again before it explodes into a frenzy of feedback with squealing sax a la Stooges Fun House. "Moonstruck", with its pulsating keyboard lead, was a single that received some radio play although don't take that as any lessening of the intensity. "Unchained Dub" is all dubby squiggles with use of a melodica offsetting the dark industrial metallic scariness. "Unchained" is closer to slightly straighter pop (all things being relative of course). "Morning Breeze" shows these are hardened northern lads. Their breeze feels to me like the iciest wind that would strip the skin off even an Eskimo's face, but after that initial shiver the track settles down and recalls the gliding levitation Verve did so well on early singles like "Gravity Grave". Finally "You And I" is almost a sweet 60s Phil Spector girl group song (okay, via the Mary Chain) before the almost inevitable feedback finale.
The more I listen to The Lucid Dream the more impressed I become. Hearing it live it one swoop perhaps some of the nuances were lost a little but as these tracks become more familiar that'll soon change, although by then they'll have moved on again. Keep up if you can.
The Lucid Dream by The Lucid Dream is released by Holy Are You Recordings on 30 March 2015. LP and CD.