Thursday, September 29, 2022

Luminous Wavez Prove There Can Be Beauty In Desolation On Magnificent EP ‘Ashes Of The Artist’

Birthed in the depths of lockdown, Luminous Wavez is the collaborative effort of acclaimed UK artist Leaone and American lyricist Mike Dobbins 

The group's first EP, the incredibly underrated ‘Raindrop Castle’, was filled with orchestral grandeur and crooning vocals. Now returning with their second effort ‘Ashes Of The Artist’, the band have turned to brooding introspection, achieving it with flawless results. 

Opener ‘Revenge Song Spiritual’ is a moody opening salvo to the band’s latest work. With spaghetti-western style acoustic guitars interlaced with sharp synth lines, the track is given an even darker element thanks to Leaone’s monologued manner of vocal delivery. “Revenge is my friend / Would you like to meet him? / He loves making new friends” he drawls in a subtly graceful way akin to peak 90s’ Radiohead — their ability to paint a picture through the mood of music is also on par with the Oxfordshire legends. 

Ex Regrets’ gives the EP its first head-nodding moment as clapping drums drive the track forward whilst the band tell the age-old story of melancholic rueing of romantic opportunities missed. Musically, it follows the same pattern of acoustic guitars & subtle synths underpinned by Leaone’s pained, drawn-out vocals. Yet the real beauty comes in the dying embers of the song, as the singer groans “There’s still time to hear a love song” over walking Spanish Flamenco-style guitar lines in what is the first truly elegant moment of the release thus far. 

The orchestral elegance of Luminous Wavez’s debut EP again pokes through the clouds on the ethereally beautiful ‘Let The Pain Be Your Light’. However, the respite from the darkness of Dobbins is only brief, as violins appear like light gleaming through clouds on a bleak winter’s day only to be quickly smothered again by the gloom. It can be heavy and desolate at times, yet there is an intrinsic elegance to the beauty of suffering and there are few tracks that do it as much justice as ‘Let The Pain Be Your Light’

Closer ‘Have No Fear´ is straight from the Nick Cave playbook of songwriting. Sharp Irish fiddles accompany vocals with a delivery that matches the extra life found in the music, in a defiant end to what may seem a bleak listen to some. “My will resisted / Convictions persevered / You can’t believe it because I’m still here / I have no fear” Leaone states, in an obstinate manner at odds with the resigned and worn-out delivery in the first three tracks. 

Ashes Of The Artist’ may seem a barren release on first listen, coming across perhaps as an EP with little musical life in the songs and a drawling lyrical delivery. Yet, with every listen, the tracks dance and sparkle like forks of lightning across a black sky, creating new life from the stark brutality of the music. It’s as if the duo took their equipment up to the northern moors on a tremendously windswept day and came down with four tracks delivered from the hands of Thor himself.  

There is a real other-worldly magnificence in these tracks, you just have to be brave enough to find it. 

James Ogden 

Image: ‘Ashes Of The Artist’ Official EP Cover

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