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Lemuria – Brilliant Dancer 7″


Part of what makes Lemuria so compelling is the way in which they use alternating female and male vocals. In ways that certainly seem innovative (at least to me) the two lead singers will not only trade lines back and forth, but will also sing the songs that the other member has written. It creates a bit of gender dysmorphia; maybe causing the listener to consider the words carefully. (As a good example of this, see ‘Lipstick‘ from Lemuria’s 2008 album Get Better). When Lemuria switched to Bridge 9 records for their most recent release, Pebble, in 2010, people were a little confused. Bridge 9 is traditionally a hardcore outfit, putting out records by the likes of Agnostic Front, Death Before Dishonor, and Champion (funny story, I picked up their debut Bridge 9 CD way back in 2002, my first experience with Bridge 9). But, some would argue that the word ‘traditional’ is maybe not exactly of a punk ethos, so in a weird way, it makes some sense that Lemuria are on Bridge 9. They’ve always been a little bit moodier than traditional pop-punk bands, but not quite in an emo way. Get Better showed hints of sparseness, but Pebble created more difficult sonic landscapes, drifting away from the poppier sun land of Asian Man and heading down river towards ominous clouds. But, Pebble, while not as poppy, was still Lemuria, and had more than it’s share of quotable, sing along verses. (and It’s not like Get Better was that happy ie ‘I spend more time missing you than kissing you’ isn’t exactly the cheeriest of sentiments… So where does all that leave us? The relationship between Bridge 9 and Lemuria seems to be proceeding smoothly as they have released a few 7″s after Pebble, and are now on the verge of releasing a new Lemuria full length. To get ready for that release (pre-order here) we’re going to talk about the first single from the album and the b-side.

Brilliant Dancer

Eric’s thoughts: ‘Brilliant Dancer’ starts off with a rolling guitar that seems straight off of a Gaslight Anthem or Against Me! track. The difference being that there is never a throaty growl following that guitar, instead we get some female vocals sung quite pleasantly. A song about an unexpected appearance of a crush, it hits amazement and incredulity pretty well. And watch out for the key change about halfway through, it seems as if they start in a whole new song without warning.

Rob’s thoughts: I like the way we start with just a picked guitar, as the drums and guitar enter slowly. Then bring in the vocals, soft and sweet. But before the minute is over we’ve suddenley upped the volume, and now we have both singers, singing in unison. One of the most compelling part of Lemuria’s music is their ability to start one place and end up somewhere else completely different. They utilize stops and starts, tempo changes, and even have multiple movements within one song (see Eric’s comment above). This song is a good lead single for the new album, as Lemuria definetely have an anthemic aura about them, but just before you’re ready to start singing along, they pull the rug out from under you and go somewhere else, leaving you on the floor, brilliant dancer spinning above.


Eric’s thoughts:  ‘Helloing’ is a slightly shorter track and it wears its pop sensibilities on its sleeve, getting you toe-tapping right from the get go. I think ‘Helloing’ plays a good b-side to ‘Brilliant Dancer’ because they both seem to be about the tentative feelings that come before a relationship starts or later after one ends.

Rob’s thoughts: If ‘Brilliant Dancer’ sounds like an Against Me! track, then the riff influence on ‘Helloing’ seems to be Hold Steady. Those crunchy power chords stand out as the initial drum beat drops out and comes back. But instead of the speak-sing stylings of Craig Finn, we get Alex Kern’s melodic monotone (just about as distinctive). ‘Helloing’ seems to find the two character’s of the song in a long term relationship, wondering what’s allowed. The first verse brings up the question of fidelity, or flirting, which prompts the female character to defend herself, and at the same time bring up a philosophical question: where does friendliness end and flirting begin and end? As one mature’s in a relationship, does one have to sacrifice their own characteristics, blunting their personality to prove their love? ‘I didn’t talk to, look at, or touch any others /I wish I had more time to be nice to others’. The bridge is a crunchy guitar, with stop and start bass and drums coming and, driving us to a climax, before we repeat the chorus twice more, ‘Is it still safe to be helloing’,  stuttering and fading out.

Listen to the songs here or on Bandcamp, and buy Brilliant Dancer now!