Formed in 2004, Lemuria have gone fairly under the radar until the 2013 release of their third studio album, The Distance Is So Big. Formed of a traditional three piece, guitar led setup, the main songwriting responsibilities have been down to the front woman guitarist/vocalist Sheena Ozzella and drummer/vocalist Alex Kerns. Parting from their indie label background and heading into the frontline via Bridge 9 Records (who were also with them for their second album Pebbles) the latest album is a fun-loving release, with plenty of heart warming tunes fit for sunny days.
Beginning the album on long drones revealing themselves to be human moans, the first song ‘Brilliant Dancer’ changes the tone entirely to be something of a rock inspired dance-around-the-room anthem. This sets the whole feel of the album nicely, utilising both Ozzella’s soft and simple vocal style with Kerns’ grittier early-punk inspired sound. Musically, the instruments tie together in a pleasing and slightly alternative harmony range, somewhat reminiscent of early Biffy Clyro work (circa Blackened Skies), with experimental rhythms that provide a certain air of unpredictability. ‘Paint The Youth’ is a good example of this, whilst also giving a slightly slower track to change the tempo of the album. The guitars paint a picture of a sunshine dripped day in America, with inspiration from The Smashing Pumpkins and even more skate-rock bands like New Found Glory creeping through to combine with Lemuria’s own spin.
The production values for the release let the album down slightly. Ozzella’s vocals; being the centrepiece for the most part; feel slightly lacking in body. Although this does provide a softer feel overall to the music, in some of the choruses throughout the 13 tracks she feels almost overpowered by the hard hitting guitar riffs and even the backing vocals from Kerns. In a similar vein, Kerns vocals leave a certain air of roughness around them, which is both endearing and irritating in equal parts. The balance (or perhaps lack of it) can be apparent in tracks such as ‘Oahu, Hawaii’, but this doesn’t detract too much from the overall atmosphere created from each of the elements of the band.
Overall, the album is a good and smile inducing listen, but can be considered something of a rough diamond. Given some extra polish, this could really be a band to watch for the future.