JAM THE ALBUM WHILE YOU READ
"GREAT ADD YOU SAUCY MINX" - BEN
THE LUKA STATE
"MORE THAN THIS" ALBUM REVIEW
APRIL 10TH, 2023
While your BritBox subscription may allow for the Anglophile dabbling in tea cozies and locked room mysteries–(yes, an oversimplification)--
The Luka State’s new LP, More Than This, hearkens more to council estates and working-class Britrock. Conrad Ellis (voice, guitar) and company let us know there is more to the UK landscape than Gallagher brother retreads and Arctic Monkeys albums. And while this latest full length may share its title with Roxy Music’s iconic Avalon track, this is a decidedly different endeavor.
No slick Bryan Ferry sophisti-pop here. Just youthful energy and the dream of something bigger than the dole and blue collar blues.
From the opening chugging drums of “Bring Us Down” that engage a head nodding smirk to a fiery electric guitar lick that brings the heat, you realize you’re about to be lifted up and not, as the title and lyrics suggest, down. Track 2 ups the ante with aggressive angst and a vituperative vocal that cries “You’re just an oxygen thief.” But we’re not yet ready to catch our breath. When “Losing Streak” hits you’re three tracks in and wondering if you haven't just stumbled upon an excellent unreleased Afghan Whigs song ala Gentleman era.
Like with the best albums, song sequencing is key. And here each track is perfectly placed. It builds beautifully. No need to give a groan and a skip with a dud misstep. When the middle hits, the building blocks are in place and we’re elevated further with great guitar work, excellent melody, arena drums, and a vocal delivery that rides just *this* side of cracked scratchiness.
Album closer, “Movies”, is a come down acoustic based gem. This is the song 2/3rds through a raucous live show I imagine the band walking off stage and leaving just Conrad with a guitar and a mic to emote. The lighters are brought out. The darkness lit.
This is a very good record. I have a feeling I’ll be playing it quite a lot in the coming months. It’s foreordained. Hell, even my favorite lyric from track 5 promises: “...you know I’ll stick around like shadows on the pavement.”
- Trent Ryan Smith