Brooklyn based duo Lushes have thought long and hard about the pros and cons of quitting their day jobs and they are confused. Don't you worry. They're not looking for an answer. They have an album for you, though - Service Industry - out October 16, 2015. The album is a rollercoaster through the maze of modern living. It was recorded and mixed by Sonic Youth's long time engineer Aaron Mullan at Echo Canyon, during a period of intense money, work and life stress. The record also includes some guest appearances from Zs front man Sam Hillmer, Justin Frye of PC Worship (Upright Bass on "You Only Have") and Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts' engineer and member of Eaters).
Service Industry extends the tensions begun with Lushes' debut album, What Am I Doing. In their first album, the themes of anxiety were often held back in pursuit of serene moments, brief escapes from our mundane lives. With Service Industry, Lushes give you something more raw, more guitar-and-drum driven, more primal.
The album throws a wrench in things. It stands as a map of a crisis, a bleak and gorgeous snapshot of our world, and a question: why continue living like we do?
Lushes are a band born of tensions - between art and math, order and chaos, planning and chance. You can hear it in their songs - taut, twitching art-punk that balance anxiety and elation, often within the space of a few bars. Album opener "Harsh" glides along slowly, feeling like a moody and measured art-rock meditation until you zero in on the words in the chorus: "Harsh on my ears, that's the way I like it." This is push-pull music, songs that temper the jagged fitfulness of groups like June of 44 and Slint with the soft-focus sweetness and open-ended song structures of The Sea & Cake and The Notwist.
That moods so diametrically opposed can peacefully coexist is part of Lushes mystery and allure. That duality extends to the group's background. and musical backgrounds were different: James grew up on bands like Nirvana, Wu-Tang Clan and Fugazi. Joel was formally trained, loving classical music but almost completely oblivious to rock and pop. The fusion of their disparate influences is what animates Lushes - the anarchy of punk and hardcore colliding with the precision of classical to create music that is marvelously ordered while still feeling seconds away from detonation. That tension pulses throughout What Am I Doing, the group's warring influences making for music that feels brittle and vital.