2021 is already gearing up to be a very interesting year for the British punk scene. While some of the more established names in the genre have been delivering new music at a very high level of quality, it is just as interesting to take a look at the up-and-coming names and what they have to say. In the case of Yorkshire four-piece LUMER, who released their debut EP Disappearing Act this January, what they have to say is quite a lot – and they have a very eloquent way of saying it.
One of the first impressions upon listening to the record is that it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear LUMER on the Peaky Blinders soundtrack sometime soon. Their sound has that fast-and-rough, thick, scratchy quality we have heard from other emerging British bands in years past, laced with something more visceral, especially in the buzzing bass and jagged, biting guitar sections, which draws from the hard rock and even metal scene (those guitars on ‘White Tsar,’ for instance, might almost be out of an early-’90s hard rock record, if they weren’t paired with the most traditionally punk vocals on the record).
In many of the EP’s seven tracks the snarly, bold vocals almost resolve into spoken-word, bringing to mind recent predecessors like Hotel Lux’s The Last Hangman while still displaying a clear connection to the very roots of the punk genre. The pace is generally sustained but ponderous; this is not a record to speed through, but the intensity remains high at all times. There is something pleasantly industrial to the production that clearly shows, coupled with everything else, the first incarnation of an individual, distinctive voice, still closely related to other bands in the scene but no less personal because of this, with the potential to develop in very interesting directions. Title track ‘Disappearing Act‘ is probably the best example of this industrial vein; ‘First Is Too Late‘ is another.
The EP is cohesive, and in a sense on-brand: there is a clear project in the honing of a sound individual to the band, as there is a project in the political weight of the lyrics, which feel relevant to the moment while matching the primal hammering of the music (see last track, ‘Another Day At The Zoo,’ for an excellent example of this, coupled with an opening riff that gives it distinct earworm potential). Opening track ‘She’s Innocent‘ has the makings of a little cult gem, with a swinging hook that’s a perfect introduction to the record and haunting vocals. ‘The Sheets‘ is equally memorable if only for its opening hook, and in general for the clever work done by the rhythm section: that scattered, scratchy background noise of bass and drum makes it one of the standout songs on this record.
Elsewhere, and perhaps most interestingly, the record introduces a more melodic note that blends in with the high-power baseline of LUMER’s brand of industrial-punk surprisingly seamlessly. ‘By Her Teeth‘ is the best incarnation of this type of experimentation on the EP, and it is to be hoped that we’ll hear more of it from this band, as it is one of the elements that could very well help LUMER’s sound grow into something truly unique.
If an EP is a calling card, Disappearing Act is undoubtedly a very interesting one. It contains the makings of many things, and while none of them is fully formed, this seminal stage is equally as intriguing and equally as important, for the high quality and cohesive nature of the record as well as for the promise it holds. Whatever the seeds planted by this record grow into, the intriguing suggestions it offers are already more than enough for an engaging and satisfying listen.
Disappearing Act is out now on Beast Records – and is available to purchase digitally and on vinyl, here.