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Lemuria - Pebble



(Bridge Nine Records)

You can take the band out of Buffalo, but you can’t take the Buffalo out of the band. When Lemuria formed in the Queen City in 2004, they might have imagined that their emotionally driven indie-pop would lead them around the country. What they might not have imagined is signing to a mostly hardcore but well respected record label, Bridge Nine Records, and releasing a fairly stripped-down and emotionally ripe record with a focus on deep, sometimes secret inner feelings.

This is still very clearly the same band that put out 2007’s Get Better, a slightly more straightforward, guitar-driven album, but what they have added is a more emotionally open dynamic, diving deeper into themselves. This openness lends a strong feeling of sincerity to the music on Pebble, but also brings out some darker ideas. The record opens with a starkly calm and minimal track called “Gravity,” which sets a conflicted tone for the rest of the album, before seamlessly transitioning to the upbeat grunge-pop of “Wise People.” “Wise People” channels the soul of Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous, with growling, distorted bass, balanced out by the sweetly toxic vocals of singer/guitarist Sheena Ozzella, and the occasional twinkling of xylophone notes. On the quirky indie-pop tune “Different Girls,” drummer and vocalist Alex Kerns reflects on nights spent alone on tour. The lyrics jump back and forth from his loneliness, which is compounded by a few too many drunken nights, to the paranoid emotions of a girlfriend left at home to imagine a myriad of sleazy situations her boyfriend might encounter while he is away. “Every night on tour I sleep with different girls, and we laugh about you.” Kerns sings, ironically, while he presumably sits alone, waiting to return home to the comfort of their relationship, asking the question “Why don’t I get drunk for you?” And though the question is rhetorical, the answer is obvious: He doesn’t need to when he is around her.

Newfound bassist Max Gregor wdoes a clever job of anchoring each track with subtle, yet complex basslines. But Pebble is lyrically driven. Most songs consist of only drums, bass, guitars, and vocals, but these structures leave room to focus on the mostly relationship-based concepts explored on the album. And what else would you expect of a band born in a place like Buffalo, the city of friendly neighbors, where everybody is somehow just three degrees of separation from each other?

cory perla

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