LUH comes part and parcel with a certain mystique. Perhaps this aura is bolstered by their acronym name (Lost Under Heaven), or because the band is a passion project; an in-the-moment time capsule of its two members’ love affair. Or maybe it is delivered via Ellery Roberts’ other worldly vocal cries.
Roberts, once an integral piece of the flare-like glory of the sadly defunct Wu Lyf, and Dutch born Ebony Hoorn appeared Wednesday night at The Echo as part of the Red Bull Sound Select series, curated by Spaceland Presents.
The succinct performance could have been propelled exclusively by the love in the air between Roberts and Hoorn. Not only do many lyrics evidence that the album (Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing) was built with these bricks, but often the two would pause on stage for unabashed PDA; the type of PDA that would grate on the nerves, if it weren’t so believable.
“After all we’ve been through, all I need in this world is you,” he confessed at the end of “Unites.” In “The Great Longing,” Roberts primal ache pled, “I’ve got faith in us, so hold my faith as trust, and let’s start today.”
The sound of LUH is harder to pinpoint than its inspiration. There were song intros that could have passed for discarded strains of EDM (“Beneath the Concrete”, “$ORO”), while other moments were graced with subtleties such as that found in live performances of “Climbing up the Walls.” Digital layers of AM radio samples, and electro aviary whistles in “First Eye to the New Sky” came courtesy of bassist (and laptop-ist) Oliver Cooper. The palette can be moody, droned out, and pensive, or more straightforwardly punky. There are call and responses, battle cries, and synth moments that suggested that an all-female choir was backing the band all the way from the downstairs stage of the Echoplex. In all, it’s a wild, raw, and unrefined cacophony.
While the band was peppering “$ORO” with electronic percussion that sounded like the delayed echoes of distant fireworks, all of a sudden the technology shorted out. Ellery Roberts took it in stride, speaking to the crowd, armed with British wit: “What’s a man to do when you give your life away to machines?”
Much like Wu Lyf’s Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, LUH’s magic hinges on Roberts’ unforgettably primitive howl. The naked intro to “Loyalty” (a song introduced as “a bloody nose”), sounded like a manic version of Jeff Buckley had been resurrected in the Coachella era.
ON AN ON was the second of two opening acts (LA’s own Oyster Kids, the other). The outfit out of Minneapolis gave a very strong performance, particularly on the booming yet melodic “Every Song.” Digital loops strands were woven deeply in to the background of the joyful sounding, yet heart wrenching tune, as Nate Eiesland desperately sang the thinly veiled lyric to a departing lover, “You’re every song in the world.” There was a slow roast indie funk that gave way to a sublime release in “Ghosts,” before an all-out pause. Then, Ryne Estwing dropped a few bass bombs, and the song was deeply jammed out to end the set; a rare vibe to be put down in front of the indie set of Echo Park.
Beneath the Concrete
Lost Under Heaven
First Eye to the New Sky
The Great Longing
ON AN ON Setlist:
Behind the Gun
I Can’t Escape It