Lunik
Encore


3.5
great

Review

by Kristof B. USER (6 Reviews)
December 13th, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 10/11/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Time to Leave

During the 15 years of their existence, Lunik has gone through a slow change in sound and style. They started out as a trip hop outfit that started adding poppy hooks to their sound, then basically entirely dived into pure acoustic up-tempo pop to end where they are now, pushing a more mellow, slower brand of pop music. Together with these changes in sound, almost all of the band was renewed, too, with only two constant members: producer/guitarist Luk Zimmermann and, of course, vocalist Jaël. Whereas Lunik’s first albums already were interesting because of their engaging blend of trip hop and pop sensibilities alone, the band later became increasingly Jaël-centric. On itself this is not bad – it is hardly a stretch to describe Jaël as world-class – but it also meant that the rest of band basically became Jaël’s backing band. Maybe that is why their latest albums lacked a real breadth in terms of musical quality, with all tracks seemingly conceived to showcase Jaël's vocal performance but, save for a few brilliant songs, without real staying power. And now it effectively happened: Lunik ceases to exist.

Apparently, things already went wrong some time ago: drummer Chrigel Bosshard left before recording What Is Next and after the album tour also Zimmermann abandoned the Lunik vehicle. Even this "farewell album", Encore, was not recorded together, with Zimmermann working in his Berlin studio and refusing to take part in the farewell tour, whereas Jaël stayed in Bern. So it was easy to have rather low expectations for Encore as all the ingredients for a catastrophe were present: Feeling obligated to give the fans a “thank you” message of sorts, they lumped together some unreleased tracks they had lingering around and, oh, why not, a live registration as a second disc?

But in fact, instead of being a bunch of leftovers, Encore’s first disc actually ends up being the most compelling outing of the band after they shedded their trip hop roots. Although the album definitely does not return to this old style of theirs (we knew hoping for that was pointless), it does bear some similarity to Weather in terms of the much higher density of proper hooks, compared to albums like What Is Next. This is particularly evident in tracks like "Stop the Time", "Rainy Day", "Pessimist" and lead single "Catastrophes": those tracks alone already have more catchy moments than the previous two albums had as whole. Thematically, there have been no changes since Ahead: melancholic reflections on feelings, relations and doubt. Also stylistically there are no real differences to the previous two albums, except the previously mentioned improved memorability. And then, there is the second disc.

A live registration of "Lunik feat. ZKO" (a concert with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra) can be expected to sound great. And it does. It is actually easy to mistake for a studio recording, save for the cheers and claps from the audience. Again, it is an evidence of just what a brilliant vocalist Jaël is, almost sounding better than she does on the first disc. And of course, the instrumentation is excellent and a fitting backing for Jaël to shine. But as whole, it feels somewhat redundant as most songs are taken from Small Lights… and What Is Next, and thus suffer from the same lack of notability, save for rather superb performances of "How Could Tell You", "Last Night" and the classic song "Through Your Eyes". That last song marks the true end of the recording and is a fitting end of Lunik as a band.

Lunik’s last album does not make any radical change whatsoever but it contains enough variety to be more memorable than their previous outings in the same style: mellow pop songs that are just nice and enjoyable. But realistically, there is no reason to mourn the band’s end as they were clearly in a creative dead end. So for now, we have been given a good collection of tracks to bridge the gap from now until the first Jaël solo release because, and I might be repeating myself by now, it would be a crime to not be allowed to hear her sing again.



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user ratings (1)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Typhoner
December 13th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For willie

Digging: Clarity - Infinite

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2013


3560 Comments


sweet man, have a pos. would I like this?

though you may want to change "went" to "has gone" in sentence 1

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Typhoner
December 13th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for the catch!

I don't know, I guess you can always try ("Rainy Day" is up on youtube, if you want a sample - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f035M00V-hQ ), I mean, are you into acoustic pop? But if you're put off by this, you still have to check their first stuff as it is quite different (more electronic) and also, well, better. willie reviewed all their albums up till 2010, but I think Weather is their best.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2013


3560 Comments


I'm attracted to the "trip-hop" tag but acoustic pop isn't really my thing

Typhoner
December 13th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

uhu, so:

from Weather: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPOmCR8Vk3g
from Rumour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6ckYhpbuOQ
from Ahead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_w0vzaH_N8


Typhoner
December 14th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The curse of the Lunik reviews no one cares about

OR

Lunik, the band with the highest review/comment ratio on sput



Willie
Moderator
December 15th 2013


16149 Comments


It's not available anywhere in the US yet, so I haven't heard it. Good review, though.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 16th 2013


6515 Comments


Gotta check, Laura Marling rec has me intrigued.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 16th 2013


6515 Comments


Good review. Reading the history of this band, it reminds me so much of Hooverphonic it's crazy. Don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.

Willie
Moderator
December 16th 2013


16149 Comments


These guys just became indie pop. Hooverphonic went off in some weird, direction.

Typhoner
December 16th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Reading the history of this band, it reminds me so much of Hooverphonic it's crazy. Don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.


Yeah I know, they are really, really alike (save for the fact that Geike and Alex Callier are the same person here) but I didn't really find a way to mention it properly in this review. It's good, in the sense that they have nice older stuff, which is also somewhat more "fun" than Hooverphonic was. Their evolution to being more, err, "mainstreamly likeable" is more straightforward than Hooverphonic (they made some strange, but cool turn like The President..., whereas Lunik just became more and more pop). On the other hand, Hooverphonic is boring as **** now, whereas this is still nice, despite not overly original.

Oh yes, they also both have albums with orchestra, lol.

Gotta check, Laura Marling rec has me intrigued.


Could've been a stretch, though. ;-)

It's not available anywhere in the US yet


It's up on Spotify here (Belgium). It is also "on the internet".

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 16th 2013


6515 Comments


Seems interesting. Gonna listen when I get the time.



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