Lucid Fly – Adapting to Gravity
01/06/2005 § Leave a comment
I’m quite dubious when it comes to listening to anything described as ‘rock’, because that’s how open-minded I am. I know that, technically, metal comes under the rock banner, but a lot of the time rock music, for what it is, is too bland, too angstily punchy and too predictable. It would take a lot for a band to move me from this attitude, partly because I’m happy festering in it and partly because I am even more particular about what is required when it comes to bands who aren’t metal. However, Lucid Fly plopped humbly into my life a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been hard-pressed to find much else which is better to listen to. This album may only be seven tracks, but it is firmly a case of less being more, I can think of many bands who would put out albums with more songs than this just to make up the numbers, and Adapting To Gravity is surely a very unpretentious and successful addition to the world of female-fronted rock.
But describing it as such seems awkward. There’s something grander about this, something bigger and more mature. The sound that Lucid Fly create is progressive and different. Though they may adhere to the token verse and chorus structure of the more mainstream media, just how they manage to fill the verses and with what they construct the choruses really is a wonder. The music here is light, shining rock with heavy undertones, and the best thing is that it is what a lot of rock music is not – unirritating. Lucid Fly have done respectably well here, not only because of the experimental nature in which the songs are written, but the way in which they’re played – the musicianship – is fantastic. As if that weren’t enough, the vocals are astounding, and in a genre where it’s getting harder and harder to find any decent vocalists, when you find one it’s more than a bonus, it’s a relief.
There’s really something special about the kind of music that Lucid Fly produce, and with only one album under their belts, things look very promising indeed. Nikki Layne’s vocals really are spectacular, she has a very clean yet sharp tone to her voice, can hold notes strongly and perfectly and throughout the album never misses a mark. The album opens with No Sleep, a quiet, slow song with a beautifully reflective chorus, directly contrasted with Splinter, which opens with some heavier, buffeting chords and retains the same strong-paced rhythm all the way through with Nikki’s vocals pleasurably softening the blow. Though this may be rock, sometimes the numbers almost veer into metal with the strength of the guitar that is used. But not only is the guitar strong, it’s also quite inventive, the band using this inventiveness to its fullest ability in numbers like Collide and Para11el.
What’s even stranger about the album, is that for a debut, there aren’t too many things that really require changing, though there are a few ideas that Lucid Fly might want to employ to make themselves an even classier act. The most unusual thing in this regard is that even though Nikki’s vocals are prominent and impressive a lot of time, they’re a little overused – there are very few breaks in the songs, very few times when she’s able to take much of a rest and some of the numbers do suffer as a result of this since they don’t have the room the breathe. Lucid Fly have the right to enjoy the luxury of more instrumental passages, to create songs of greater length and even to be a little indulgent with their song-writing and playing, since sometimes the songs do feel a bit short and that the band could have exploited their musical resources more. Not only this, but Derrick‘s drumming sometimes lacks a little flair, a little extravagance, and there are various moments where the odd egocentric fill certainly wouldn’t go amiss since it would actually fit well with the music.
Nevertheless, these are minor criticisms and it’s hard to find too much fault with Adapting To Gravity, mostly because it’s a fantastic shot at a first album. The sound production is also quite crisp and clean, and it’s refreshing to hear a band put so much into their first full work. But what’s strangest about this is the fact that the entire septet of songs sounds so smooth, unrushed and unforced. There’s something wonderfully natural about the music and its execution which makes Adapting To Gravity something to really take notice of. If the band can get a little more progressive and a little less afraid to experiment, we’ll be seeing some impressive material from them in the near future. There’s really very little to hold these people back.