ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE 405 (NOW DEFUNCT)
Within the first few seconds of Lost Under Heaven’s music video for ‘For the Wild,’ the closing track off their latest album titled Love Hates What You Become, a slowly disappearing epigraph reads “I would burn my right hand in a slow fire / To change the future... I should do so foolishly.” Though the words of eco-poet Robinson Jeffers’ pass through the video in the blink of an eye, it’s underlying message reverberates as the lifeblood through the entirety of LUH’s sophomore release.
Lifted from Jeffers’ 1935 poem titled “Rearmament,” these words reflect upon futility and the inevitable destruction of humanity. Nevertheless, Jeffers sought to strip futility of inherent failure and ruin, while imbuing it with a sense of virtue and necessity. Though Jeffers’ vision regarding mankind’s finite potential and destructive nature is rather tragic, his sentiment bears more truth now than when the poet’s’ pen met paper, back in 1934. With Love Hates What You Become, Manchester art rock duo of Ebony Hoorn and Ellery James Roberts repurposes Jeffers’ message and funnels it through the social-political turmoil that bridges Brexit and Trump’s America. While there is a glimmer of hope at the end of it all, Love Hates What You Become is an emotionally explosive project cloaked by a heavy veil of frustration. Though the duo recorded their latest record in 2017 and has just now seen the light of day, its content—like Jeffers’ poem—is timeless, preceptive of what’s ahead, and serves as a cathartic time capsule for gen z’ers and millennials to cast their anxieties upon. Compared to their 2016 debut Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing, which was composed, clean and far more produced, LUH attempts to capture the prevailing animosity and angst of this moment in history through raw songwriting, immediate emotion and one impassioned chorus after another. Love Hates What You Become is packed to the brim with intersectional topics and themes—all of which struggle for attention, but lead to two important questions posed by the duo in an interview with The 405 in November of 2017: “Are you satisfied?” and “Are you happy with the way in which you are existing on the micro and macro of the community and the planet?”
Keeping these questions and Jeffers’ excerpt in mind, the duo constructs an expansive enough space so listeners may ponder their place within the broader picture of the world, while remaining true to the tumultuous procession and processing of human emotion. Balancing feelings of torment with ecstasy and fury with tranquility, Love Hates What You Become wields the dichotomy of darkness and light—both metaphorically and through the messages each track communicates. ‘Black Sun Rising', which began as an immersive installation art piece, gradually evolved into a foreboding neo-folk burner about our world on the verge of ecological disaster. Not the best song to play around a campfire, but its veil of acoustic despondency certainly make you feel guilty for ever igniting one. In the cathartically enraged single 'Post Millennial Tension', LUH furthers the album’s anxious demeanor and attempts to combat mundanity and apathy, “My generation's burning/ Still we sing our love songs,” with swooning crescendos and anthemic passion, “Everbody singing fuck the world/ Close your eyes, we will be alright/ All the lovers singing this our world/ Do we stand, take up the fight?” Though their war cries are slightly tinged with doubt and caution, there’s no denying the earnestness behind the vocals of both artists. With the noise-filled ‘Bunny Blues,’ Ebony takes center stage and shines. By way of an alter ego named Bunny Blue, Ebony yearns for women to be heard and understood as she confronts the patriarchy with confidence, charm and a bit of unquenched blood-thirst: “There’s a wolf inside of me/ I feel it clawing at my insides/ Its time for you to leave/ You best start running/ I feel blood lust coming.” Though quieter on the ears compared to other songs on the album, the title track is an incredibly sad reflection on the theme and desire of wanting to be heard and understood—studied through the lens of an argument between Ellory and Ebony. According to the duo, “I guess it's that sense that you only argue with someone that you love because you want them to understand your point of view.” It’s not all is doom and gloom for this incredibly insightful and talented duet. Sure, there are heavy, darker, and less helpful moments throughout, but there are numerous instances that are life-affirming and searching for hope as well. In fact, the album commences with a bang and skittering dance beats in the form ‘Come,’ an infectious, albeit, slightly cheesy alt-rock number that beckons listeners toward a future that’s greater than the now. Probably the most important and best track on the entire album, ‘For The Wild’, is an appropriate conclusion to an album that seeks some sense of joy, comfort, and acceptance of the destruction around us. There’s a sense of surrender about ‘For The Wild’ that is really hard to pin down. It’s a discomforting notion at first, but it eventually sweeps you off your feet as Ebony joins Ellory on vocals: “Simmer down/ Nothing lasts forever/ Break like waves in the sea/ As the river floods the land/ Can't tame the wild in me.” With colorful synths and billowing percussion coalescing into epiphanic elation, one cannot help but embrace their insignificance and their carelessness within the grand scheme of things. The sweeping subject matter LUH croons about may come across as apathetic at first, but eventually, listeners will become overwhelmed by the life-affirming and life-giving cacophony of LUH’s latest record. All this to say, Love Hates What You Become is an endearing album that earnestly cares about our generation and is admirable because of it.
THE 405 RATING: 8/10