Asian Man Records/Bridge 9
A certain somebody made me very self-conscious about the 4/5 album review recently, but they can go away to be frank. Whilst Lemuria's first comp album, the capriciously brilliant First Collection (a comp of their first 7"s and EPs) was undeniably a 5/5 record, even Get Better (their first album proper) already showed a move away from their punk pop roots and towards something more serious, and in all honesty a little bit more dull. I fell in love with this band originally because they mixed unashamedly fun songs with great lyrics and vocal melodies; that side of the band is evidently long gone.
However, on Pebble they've finally at least come to a new equilibrium; on Get Better tracks like 'Mechanical' sat next to 'Get Some Sleep' or 'Dog', as well as 'Length Away' or 'Wardrobe'.... it just didn't work, to be honest. This time around, though, they've got the outright fucking depressing (see opener 'Gravity') next to more up-tempo songs.... that are still fucking depressing ('Wise People', 'Ribcage', 'Bloomer'). Finally, some continuity!
Their lyrics are as good as ever, basically flows of consciousness set to catchy chord patterns, with more boy/girl vocals than you can shake a stick at. Amongst the better lines there's "I don't count you as my first kiss/Though I now know it had influence/At the time I laughed and thought it was fun/Now I realize how fucked up it was", "If I was half as wise/I would have you fooled" and "Every night on tour/I sleep with different girls/And we laugh about you/While you are at home".
The best single cut is 'Chautauqua County', light on lyrics, heavy on melody, and coming off like a super-bleak punk version of The Joy Formidable's 'Austere'. I'm a bit drunk, so I'm going to wrap up here before I commit too many spelling and grammar atrocities, but I will say on parting that this is the most confident outing for the band since their early material, and that it's good to see them once again putting out material of a consistent quality and attitude. Rock on!