One of the major joys of my job is being able to experience an unknown artist for the first time. With no context, no pretence, and no expectations, every review starts with at least five minutes blocked off to simply listen and live with a song, especially if it’s from an artist that I have never heard of before. I try not to read the press release or start typing anything until I’ve sat with a song and really gotten a clear first impression.
There are so many songs that come in every single day that it’s hard to get surprised, but I got surprised today by Hong Kong indie rockers Lucid Express and their brand new track ‘Hotel 65’.
Combining layers of dreamy distortion and fuzzy textures, ‘Hotel 65’ is a superb shoegaze track that brings the wavy vocal lines and crashing drums into a stew of mushy surrealism. Like a lot of the best shoegaze music, I have not a single idea what lead singer Kim Ho is articulating in her lyrics, but it wraps me up in a comfortably warm cocoon of sound, so I don’t need to go into analysis mode. I’m just going to sit back and let it wash over me.
Now comes the real fun part: finding out more about the band. I could detail how the five members work crazy hours to fund their rock and roll dreams, or how their music is informed by the daily struggles of the pro-democracy Hong Kong movement, or how the band formed as teenagers and provided an escape from the volatile political climate through music, but that’s all stuff you should find out for yourself.
Instead, I’ll simply recommend diving into the band’s self-titled debut LP when it gets released next month. Context is important when viewing the band within the greater musical diaspora, but the way I experienced the purest joy was of hearing Lucid Express cold and just being taken by a killer band making an awesome first impression. Sometimes it’s really as simple as that.
Check out the video for ‘Hotel 65’ down below. Lucid Express is set for a July 16 release.