Review Summary: Feel the waves crash
There are few things more beautiful than an album’s artwork perfectly matching its sound. Hong Kong band Lucid Express (previously known as Thud) have achieved this synthesis of the senses of eyes and ears on their self-titled debut LP, with the gorgeous watery scene visually depicted being sonically mirrored by the titanic but still smooth psych-tinged shoegaze of the record’s ten songs.
The modern shoegaze scene has acquired a bit of a bad rap, given its preponderance of blandly generic bands coasting off the genre’s beautiful basic tenets. Lucid Express can’t fully shake that critique with this album, which falls very much within the standard confines of what might be expected from a contemporary release of this style: an amalgam of nods to the essential 90s pioneers, formulaic fusion of shoegaze and dream pop strands, and intermixing of psychedelic, alt-rock, and synthpop influences. However, all told the band has executed their vision with precision and clarity, leaving the listener with a staunchly atmospheric vibe, and the highlights here are among the best new tunes in the genre which this reviewer has heard in a while.
The songs presented on Lucid Express
are all quality, albeit with a few being slightly less memorable than the others. “North Acton” begins the album by laying foundations of pristine dream pop, with the reverb-drenched second track “Hotel 65” adding in greater muscle. Mid-record highlight “Hollowers” is a subtle psychedelic number with delicate stretches interrupted by periods of thundering guitar. Meanwhile, “Aquarium” builds from an almost-ambient intro to the most melodically lush and carefree moment of the album, the soundtrack to a hazy summer dream. “Ride The Night”, with its anthemic tendencies, closes the record with a fittingly triumphal note.
This five-piece band has been around for a while (Thud was formed in 2012) and has become a relevant fixture in the Hong Kong indie scene, but their footprint remains quite small as far as releases go. Hopefully that changes, as the high quality of their first full-length demonstrates that the band has the potential to be stalwarts of modern shoegaze for years to come.