Bursting out of Leicester in a shower of squall drenched reverb, Lusts are an amalgamation of every different indie cornerstone from the past thirty years. On debut album Illuminations, brotherly duo Andrew and James Stone shame four-piece musical parodies like Catfish & The Bottlemen by summoning a euphoric and muscular racket that belies their abbreviated line-up.
Lusts are a polygamous marriage of bruised and frazzled glimmer, spiralling vocals and propulsive percussion. Guitars sound like they are being channelled through puddles of oily water, at once grime encrusted and summery. The duo have been clothed in the charity shop garb of Echo & The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs and New Order by numerous critics, because of their new-wave meets post-punk cocktail. In reality, they are a blistering fusion of Cocteau Twins, Orange Juice and every C86 band you’ve ever dreamed of fronting. Palpitations will consume once fey fops from sheer wistfulness.
The twelve tracks of Illuminations pelt along at a 100 meter final pace. Despite most songs being a potential single, the album irritatingly starts with a pithily meaningless instrumental. It vapours from one ear to the other with all the power of a bean fuelled bovine choir, and is quite simply the worst way to start. From then on however, Illuminations careers from delight to triumph in a recklessly breath-taking way that unites the spirits of gloomy, jangly and atmospheric indie.
When you hear the sonic bedlam of ‘Careless’ and ‘The Chair’, it’s easy to see why critics think Lusts are Bernard Sumner fronting The Psychedelic Furs. The aquatic ‘Temptation’ strengthens that comparison, but it’s really Cocteau Twins atmospherics and Edwyn Collins’s gloriously sculpted chimes that oversee both chord and snare. A panoramic pulse cradles classic indie melancholy as Lusts make us dance to self-doubt and confusion. Andrew Stone’s voice emulates various indie frontmen, at times sounding like Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, which is no bad thing, to The Vaccines’ Justin Young, the musical equivalent of Abu Ghraib. Single ‘Waves’ and ‘Bad Weekend’ boast addictive refrains, and are the undoubted highlights of Lusts’ productive sessions in the music laboratory.
If there is one criticism to be made, it’s that the songs lack variety, in both sound and pace. By the climax of the urgent ‘Mouthwash’, song after song has segued into the next on the second half of the album without much distinction. Though I will be eternally grateful for the absence of an oppressively dull, Waitrose-courting ballad, more musical experimentation would’ve helped to differentiate the still brilliant songs. Regardless, Lusts succeed where others fail because the combination of brawling speed and gleaming hooks is maintained throughout. Illuminations is a remorselessly enjoyable collection of coherent singles that will create new fault lines wherever they play.