San Francisco – “You say it’s cruel / hell you know it’s beautiful to know one day / you’re gonna die!” Lux Lisbon shouts during the chorus of “Memento Mori,” the third track off their EP Get Some Scars. Outside the musical context – the bright chords and ebullient backing vocals – the lyric sounds morbid, but it’s quite the opposite. The U.K.- based four-piece takes a delightful victory lap around death in this song by emphasizing the tragic beauty of our transitory existence on this planet, as if the only way to conquer our collective fear of mortality is to celebrate it. Rejoice in the inevitability. It sounds impossible. That is, until you actually hear the colossal chorus and can’t help but sing along with the exuberant tone of their voices.
Like Arcade Fire or, if you want to go back a generation, Bruce Springsteen, Lux Lisbon doesn’t write songs so much as they compose anthems. Their music is unabashedly grand, containing a universality and love of life that echoes Walt Whitman more than any modern-day musical peer. Though I’m stuck in California and don’t have the chance to see the Brits in person anytime soon, I can imagine what their live show looks like: the catchy guitar riffs and jubilant bass lines sway the crowd along to the rhythm; raised fists and mass singalongs are prevalent, and they include the guys hanging out in the back by the bar; the drum beats rattle the walls and shake the dance floor.
Their EP, which is officially available for free through their website, contains eleven anthems tackling everyday pains, loves, losses and fears. They’re songs of youth with a twinge of sadness because, after all the parties are crashed and all the idealism spent, you end up with gnawing loneliness and a bad hangover. As they suggest on the title track, “While we’re young / let’s go out and get some scars / ‘cause when we’re older / we’ll wear them to tell us apart.” That line sums up their mindset beautifully.
The band recently played their biggest headline show to date at London’s Bush Hall in June. It was sold out weeks in advance, as were their three nights in London at The Lexington earlier in the year. So if you’re living in London or the surrounding area, first of all, I’m jealous of your opportunity to experience this group live and, secondly, go see them now before they really blow up. With songs like the scorching power-pop of “Bullingdon Club” or the sultry groove of “Devil Got Me Dancing,” I don’t see how they’re going to stay under-the-radar for much longer.
The Lux Lisbon EP, Get Some Scars, can be downloaded here for free , along with additional information about the band.
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