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Lemuria - Pebble (Cover Artwork)

Lemuria

Lemuria: PebblePebble (2011)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Bridge Nine raised quite a few eyebrows with the signing of Lemuria. Although the label has tiptoed outside the hardcore realm in recent years, bands like Polar Bear Club and Strike Anywhere undoubtedly have roots in the genre. Lemuria, on the other hand, is a band known for adorably awkward male/fe.
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Bridge Nine raised quite a few eyebrows with the signing of Lemuria. Although the label has tiptoed outside the hardcore realm in recent years, bands like Polar Bear Club and Strike Anywhere undoubtedly have roots in the genre. Lemuria, on the other hand, is a band known for adorably awkward male/female vocals, fuzzy guitars straight outta '95 and a lyrical portrayal of emotions that are often masked or metaphoric and rarely clear-cut. To put it bluntly, they have no roots in hardcore; their sound couldn't even be described as post-fill in the blank or any subgenre of the sort.

So, a label that carries a lot of weight in a certain subculture took a calculated risk in releasing Pebble, and there's something really exciting about that notion. It's reminiscent of the halcyon days of Jade Tree releasing albums from the Promise Ring and Kid Dynamite, and Revelation putting out classics from Elliott and Shai Hulud. While the definition of punk might be different to every person you ask, diversity and inclusiveness is and will always be punk as fuck, so kudos to the B9 folks for thinking outside the box.

Lemuria had a tall order to follow up 2008's excellent Get Better given the circumstances mentioned above, and thankfully, Pebble more than holds its own; while it's exactly what one would expect from the band at this point, it's anything but a carbon copy of its predecessor. "Gravity" opens the album on a quiet, somber note, with guitarist Sheena Ozzella vulnerably and convincingly singing lyrics like "You're good. / You're good at breaking hearts. / Someday, someday, / someday you will be old. / Gravity will destroy you, / what you were good at" over minimal instrumentation that builds and builds but never breaks, which is appropriate given the track's lyrical content. It doesn't eclipse "Pants" as far as great openers go, but it's a nod to trying something different, which ought to be commended.

"Wise People" is where the production of J. Robbins initially shines through; the vocals are distorted and echo-y, the guitar and bass are far fuzzier and the drums are louder and more distant. It fits the band's aesthetic like a glove, and the fact that the song's catchy as hell certainly doesn't hurt. "Pleaser" continues the infectiousness, and it's frankly the best drumming Alex Kerns has ever put to tape; there are plenty of exciting moments and nuances throughout facilitated by his percussion that shan't go unnoticed.

When Kerns takes lead vocal duties, such as on "Different Girls", it's a treat. His voice is deep and somewhat monotone and it perfectly complements Ozzella's mousy, vulnerable singing, evident whenever they back each other up, such as on the aforementioned "Girls" and the track that follows it, "Bloomer".

Pebble ends just as impressively as it began, with "Chautauqua County" serving as the "first single" and rightfully so, as it's the catchiest of Lemuria's 11 offerings here; Ozzella's "whoa"s and "oh"s here really seal the deal, making it easy to see why the song was picked to be released twice. "The One" is a tad more subdued, and it works well enough as an album closer, but like "County" it ends a little abruptly, leaving the listener wondering if there is such a thing as too much brevity. (There is.)

That's small potatoes at the end of the day, though, as Pebble perfectly balances progression with familiarity for a listen that's never anything less than exciting. With material as strong as this, it's easy to see why Bridge Nine hung their credibility-laden hats on Lemuria.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
145Alive (December 7, 2011)

Lemuria is a weak, weak band, comprised of weak, weak people, performing even weaker songs.

sketchit (July 3, 2011)

When I first heard this album I was so incredibly disappointed. It's not even close to being as good as their other releases, but "wise people" and "pleaser" aren't too bad.

rec0rdsatnite (February 9, 2011)

I love it. Sure, maybe it is a little slower than Get Better, but I can appreciate it. I think it's a great album.

milesqtoast (February 2, 2011)

don't hate the record because it isn't the type of music you generally like, hate it because it's terrible.

televisioneyes (January 18, 2011)

Totally, I love Get Better, but I wouldn't want Pebble to sound like the same formula. I'm glad they're progressing and after a few listens to this album, I'm certain it's my favorite record by them yet.

Jawbroker (January 17, 2011)

Wasn't a fan of Yellowstone Lady or Durian, but everything else was pretty solid.

paristexaskid (January 17, 2011)

You make a good point about being repetitive, yet look right now at the most long lasting bands in the punk scene, Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX, No Use For A Name, etc, all have played the same music on each record, with slight tweaks in lyrical content and still have been around for 20-30 years, same with the bouncing souls. The formula works, look at the gradually declining favor of bands like alkaline trio, rise against, the demise of say a band like panic at the disco, the decided to completely go in a different direction on their second record and we really haven't heard much from them since. more times than not, changing up a formula that works and trying out new things alienates fans and loses a lot of fans. Yes, critical praise is nice, but they aren't buying the records and going to the shows, the fans are. look at less than jake's out with the in crowd record, terrible, not a less than jake record, and they admit that it was pretty brutal. it doesn't work.

and no, the vocals aren't the best thing, maybe on an album, but have you seen them live, not so good. you tube it if you have to.

Cowbells (January 17, 2011)

Firstly, I think most people would say that the vocals were one of the best things about Lemuria, and secondly your comment about 'why do bands change a formula that works?' surely answers itself. Because it's way more boring to continually write the same song than to continually listen to it. That's why you've listened to Get Better tonnes of times and Lemuria only wrote it once.

I'm still making my mind up on Pebble, but I've got enough faith in those guys that it's going to be a keeper.

brokenrecord (January 14, 2011)

bro why u mad?

paristexaskid (January 14, 2011)

This album is a serious disappointment. I am not sure how this would even be close to something considered an album of the year candidate. This review is really overly positive on something that is honestly shit. What makes me laugh about these reviews, especially this one, is the need of the reviewer to use a writing style that no one uses. Does anyone honestly talk to anyone like that, no. This is a album review, not a thesis paper for your masters program. Anyways, anyone who has an ear for music should know this is pretty much one of the worst sophomore albums I have heard in a long long time. The grit and raw nature of this band has not been polished and over produced to really make what was a promising band, fall back down to reality. I think what tends to happen, especially with a band like this, who has been around for over 5 years, and is just now getting this huge push, is that they over compensate and attempt to put out something special and different and unique. Guess what, you solidified your fan base by raw, punky, indie/college rock simple music, and now have had to go and alienate your entire fan base for some great musical idea conceived with the j. robbins. The vocals are barely audible at times, and the guitars and drums drown out everything. Why do bands break a formula that works, especially now with exposure this large. This bands vocals were never their strong point, and this album definitely shows that off. Previous albums and ep's show the raw nature and spirit that makes less than quality vocals ok. I, along with I'm sure the majority of hardcore fans of this band are sadly disappointed and hoping the band goes back to their roots on the follow up.

Jelone (January 13, 2011)

Loved the early stuff. Wasn't that into Get Better. Took me a couple of days, but I've fallen hard for this. I get why ya'll think it's boring, but gosh dang like half the songs are stuck in my head.

kelly_d (January 13, 2011)

Literally the only band I saw at Fest this year that I really didn't enjoy. I mean, I didn't hate it, I didn't make me angry.

bytheslice (January 13, 2011)

You know what band Lemuria always reminded me of? Velocity Girl. "Simpatico" is still one of my all-time favorite "mellow" albums. On a side note, I buy almost every single album on Bridge 9 and I'm stoked that they're being so open-minded about signing bands that don't fit into a hardcore genre.

Maverick (January 13, 2011)

I still don't get this band. Not feeling it, never really have.

-Scott

HeresLookinAtYou (January 12, 2011)

This vaguely reminds me of Tigers Jaw (I mean that in a good way).

Misanthropee (January 12, 2011)

Cos, been slowly revising a REALLY negative one over the past week. Stay tuned.

Misanthropee (January 12, 2011)

Bryne, YOU'RE the one who brought up the fact that submitted reviews tend to be slanted toward the positive, not me. You seem to have totally misunderstood my point. I obviously wasn't saying Punknews is Wikipedia; that's a straw man. What I WAS doing is giving an example of how a strong editorial presence, not a neutered one, can shape crappy user-submitted content into something balanced and more-readable. Not sure what you found so offensive about that.

slowstupidhungry (January 12, 2011)

"But we know some folks who come to the site care about those bands, so we try to cater to them as well. If it were up to me, we'd never post anything (news or reviews) about the latest mallpunk group. But it's not up to me (or anyone) and the site is better for it."

Um...

Cos (January 12, 2011)

Anyone whining about the lack of negative reviews should submit a few. Nothing's stopping you.

tsiege (January 12, 2011)

Not as good as Gets Better, but its okay.

drunkwithpower (January 12, 2011)

I just listened to this and it was the definition of boring. I like otehr stuff that sounds like this, but these guys just don't have it.

RawDogKabob (January 12, 2011)

have possibly listened to this here album a good 5 times now.... and it has proven itself to me, to continually get better..... This band has proven themselves to me, to continually get better. A solid album by a solid band, that i think will be a stand out album for them. A big move from Asian Man to Bridge 9 was just the start of it. Now I'm sure there's nothing but good good things to come.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (January 12, 2011)

no way could this shit be any good..............................

bryne (January 12, 2011)

I can assure you that no such bias exists. If it did, do you think we'd be posting articles about bands like A Skylit Drive, A Rocket to the Moon, or Coheed and Cambria, or reviews for records like that Day to Remember LP? I'm not a fan of any of those bands and I'd be hard-placed to name a staffer that is. But we know some folks who come to the site care about those bands, so we try to cater to them as well. If it were up to me, we'd never post anything (news or reviews) about the latest mallpunk group. But it's not up to me (or anyone) and the site is better for it.

Comparing us to Wikipedia is inherently flawed for a couple of reasons. One is the sheer volume of that site's content versus ours, and also the nature of said content. Wikipedia is intended to be an objective base of information that is constantly being edited, and the openness of it does, as you mentioned, creates such problems with slander, shameless promotion, etc. that a similar system here would be nigh impossible to work with. I mean...you read our comments sections. Imagine crap like that making our home page. Overnight, our voice, our credibility, and everything else we've worked so hard for would go right out the window. Even if we wanted to pursue something like that, we'd rather spend our time improving our craft and creating more great content for our readers than editing and re-editing stuff that's been compromised. Bringing on more people to help us do such a thing would be difficult, because we're meticulous about who we bring on our staff and being volunteers who work and go to school full-time, we simply don't have the resources to train them. That's why there's only a couple handfuls of us.

Secondly, comparing our reviews section with Wikipedia is flawed logic because again, Wikipedia articles are intended to be objective facts without a dose of opinion. Reviews of albums, books, movies, live shows, anything are inherently subjective. I don't know of any publication that publishes reviews of that ilk; if you do, I'd be happy to check them out. Ideally, a good reviewer presents enough facts to validate their opinion, and whether or not the reader agrees with their assessment is what makes the process and the aftermath so interesting and fun to be a part of. I don't see what essentially neutering our editorial voice would do to improve the site.

Misanthropee (January 12, 2011)

Bryne, if you check out Wikipedia, which is also volunteer-based, I think you'll find equal amounts of blatant promo and negative slander, but with a ton of excellent and valid stuff in between. Don't blame the contributors for what might be a symptom of the site's failings. With volunteer music reviews, people obviously tend to write about things they've paid for (and therefore liked beforehand), but ideally it's the responsibility of the editors to compensate for that bias. Less is more, blah blah. Only use the best submissions, and if there aren't enough to choose from, solicit more actively.

beefjerkyistheshit (January 12, 2011)

not sold on this record yet but i'm going to give a few more listens. not sure if what they're doing is really anything i'm into anyway, if that means anything. i think this might just be one of those records you have to be in a certain mood to really be into.

avery7190 (January 12, 2011)

First few listens did nothing for me, but afterwards it finally clicked. Definitely a grower, but stellar album nonetheless.

ballsy815 (January 11, 2011)

huge fan of gravity. big fan of wise people, the one, and pleaser. I have a hard time getting into Alex's vocals, especially Yellowstone Lady and the chorus vocals on Different Girls. Other than that, a pretty solid album.

crotchrot (January 11, 2011)

six great songs, the bad songs make it a bit disappointing though

bryne (January 11, 2011)

does everything get a fucking 4/5 on this site?

If we've said it once, we've said it a million times.

Once again, on a site so heavily user-driven and community-oriented as Punknews.org, you're bound to have more positive reviews than negative ones. Unpaid, volunteer contributors--which we ALL are--are far more likely to submit reviews of albums they enjoy than of albums they don't.

I'm still unsure what's so hard to understand about that, but it's obviously an issue with a few folks considering how often we get comments like this, which is usually just disagreement with a review masked as contempt for the site as a whole. Opinions! People have 'em and they're not all the same, and that's okay!

So to answer your question: No.

danperrone (January 11, 2011)

does everything get a fucking 4/5 on this site?

anyway, i loved get better. and i don't like this at all. starts out solid with "wise people" and "pleaser" but nothing else stook out to me. "yellowstone lady" and "different girls" are throwaways. i suppose that bands that play this style of music continually walk the line between excellent songs and ridiculous crap...maybe they just got lucky with get better?

Problematiclogic (January 11, 2011)

I think this is eclipses their past releases personally. Not sure why people don't seem to be digging it other than maybe the fact that's it's been a long time since Get Better and people (including me) have listened to that one a whole lot in that time.

ak3punk (January 11, 2011)

I loved "Get Better", I'm not sure how I feel about this album yet...

JerryCola (January 11, 2011)

This album took a while to grow on me.

Overall I'd say it's a solid album, but it does have its flaws and I can understand why people would be disappointed in it.

StraightToHell82 (January 11, 2011)

*two full listens

StraightToHell82 (January 11, 2011)

I gave this album to full listens, and was bored to death both times.

Grue (January 11, 2011)

Not good at all. And I liked Get Better.

baseball (January 11, 2011)

Hmmm, I thought Get Better was way better than this. This one's just kinda boring, I'm sorry to say.

Blackjaw_ (January 11, 2011)

It's pretty good. There's some parts I can't stand.

thepopeofchili-town (January 11, 2011)

I loved Get Better, and J. Robbins has produced like half of my top 10 all-time records, but this just bored me to tears. Thought it was going to be a grower, but it never grew.

dev (January 11, 2011)

My 5-year-old daughter and I love it. She says they shouldn't sit on the chain like that though, 'cause they could get pinched.

televisioneyes (January 11, 2011)

Definitely going to be in my top 5 of 2011. I think this is the best album yet from Lemuria. These songs are intense!

Lysdexia (January 11, 2011)

This one's really bottom-heavy and I like that. The production is great. I like it even more than Get Better. This one is really cohesive and it's got some stellar songs. I'd heard some people calling some of it filler, but I don't see any filler in this record at all.

joe_weasel (January 11, 2011)

i listened to it once through on the car ride up to school. it lacks the energy of any of their previous releases and relies to much on weird repeated lines or choruses. there our a couple of tracks that did stand out, and im definitely willing to give it another chance. but get better floored me when i first heard it, and i was hoping the same with this.

bryne (January 11, 2011)

Best album of the year.

So far!

dingbat (January 11, 2011)

Picked this up in Louisville on New Year's. It is pretty fucking awesome. This band has always been great.

DoctorMistersir (January 11, 2011)

Best album of the year.

wallofyouth (January 11, 2011)

"gravity will destroy you"? sounds like paint it black == hardcore

mclz (January 11, 2011)

This stuff sucks major balls

greg0rb (January 11, 2011)

I'm sure you meant rpm, because 30 bpm would be incredibly slow.

Babrook (January 11, 2011)

Best album yet.

splitter (January 11, 2011)

I am not very old, and even I remember a time when punk rock was not nearly this lame. This whole LP runs at like 30 BPM. No thanks.

greg0rb (January 11, 2011)

Have recently started checking this band out and you make this new one sound really appealing to me.

insinceredave (January 11, 2011)

Good review, I look forward to picking this up.

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