Words by Andreas Schiffmann
With regard to Lucy In Blue, you find yourself once again seeing practically all the confirmed stereotypes that accompany contemporary music from Iceland but in a good way. The group’s current album sounds far removed from the world (otherworldly in the truest sense of the word) with its chill overall aesthetics that seem to be aimed at the ever-growing audience for what is generally–and vaguely–called ‘post-rock’. By now, while one struggles to pinpoint what this term actually means, it’s safe to say that it encompasses a certain aloofness or distance, which is also palpable on In Flight.
The band’s primary trademarks might be the androgynous lead vocals and often downright grandiose organ arrangements. In contrast, however, the band writes in a relatively straightforward way, resulting in songs which rarely surpass the five-minute mark. After the aptly named introduction ‘Alight, Pt. 1’, a rather tranquil take-off for the literal or metaphorical flight that serves as the thematic framework of the record, the voyage turns out to be a by and large gloomy one.
While you are never forcefully pushed into your seat, the tension keeps rising for some time until ‘Respire’, another title that rings true, gives you some room to breathe. Lucy In Blue continue to glide above the clouds, crossing the northern European hemisphere with British shores remotely in sight; indeed, it is fair to say that the 1970s Pink Floyd have left a more than superficial impression on the members, particularly when it comes to blending the subtle melancholy into arrangements that are epic and sublime in equal parts.
As luck would have it, the band made sure to not forget the necessary contrasts. After all, In Flight could easily crash into the sea of all those lightweight prog groups that are hardly more than glorified shoegaze rockers without a profile: The constantly squirming, theatrical ‘Matricide’ impresses with polyphonic singing that borders on Gentle Giant’s choral approach, whereas ‘Tempest’ really displays stormy qualities. If one had to find one downside of the album as a whole, it would be the feeling (a subjective one, mind you) that Lucy In Blue flex their muscles at such a late point in the overall narrative.
Thus, In Flight offers the kind of art-rock that has become a bit too common during the last few years, although that being said, you are challenged to find a recent release whereon this tack on age-old musical virtues is tried with equal nonchalance…and therefore success. Lucy In Blue still embraces the genre they are rooted in but don’t feel compelled to follow its textbook formulas.
Lucy In Blue – In Flight
1. Alight, Pt.1
2. Alight, Pt. 2
7. In Flight
8. On Ground