You have to spend time with Lewsberg releases. Not just because the Rottersam based foursome omit the sort of sound that reveals hidden intricacies upon each listen, but also because they are one of ‘those’ bands that compel repeated listens, even if the reason why is not immediately apparent.
Perhaps this ‘spell’ is due to their inimitable sense of cool. Frontman, Arie Van Vliet, delivers his semi spoken word vocals with the sort of deadpan intonations that only those with a genuine indie-core can ever really deliver with authenticity. They just reek of the big city de-personalisation that typifies many of the traits of the little characters who are the lyrical subject matter. The perfect foil if you will.
However, the vocals are more than just cool. They provide a thread through which the ecleticism of the multi-nuanced aesthetic are loosely held together to just about avoid any sense of spurious. Such nuances are never far away from the best (and undoubtedly the most original) of alternative guitar work that has been seen in leftfield jangle over the last couple years.
Lewsberg excel in all their guises. The mayhem of Interlude and opener Left Turn (see below), gloriously implode before the listener is allowed the satisfaction of relating to them, whereas At Lunch, Trained Eye and Jacobs ladder, delve into lower tempo melancholy that tiptoe as close to ‘pretty’ as Vliets vocals and the musical atmospherics will ever allow, before ultimately settling on just a tad ‘sinister’. Or at the very least unsettling.
However, as with last year’s self titled debut album, the Lewsberg sound is most abundant when they wrap their songs around a truly dominant lead riff that drives their inimitable sense of almost ‘reluctant dynamism’. This is best seen in tracks From Never to Once (see below), Cold Light Of Day (which is this albums’, The Smile moment from their debut, equivalent) and Through The Garden.
As a footnote, when Arie contacted me regarding the new album coming out, we exchanged a few pleasantries about the lockdown / COVID thing. As everyone else reaches meltdown at the thought of social isolation, he seemed relatively happy at the prospect of doing his own thing for a bit. After listening to this album, you can just somehow tell he totally means and probably gets it?
Artist Link: Official