“Coroner’s Office” – Lux
A fuzzy-buzzy mix of guitars and electronics, “Coroner’s Office” succeeds where a lot of this kind of lo-fi fuzz-buzz (to my ears) fails, and this is because David Chandler and Leah Rosen may love the DIY thing but they also love the pop song thing. This is a real, complete song; even if partially electronic and programmed, it feels actually crafted by actual human hands. Developing over a sturdy, repeating four-chord progression, the same one for both the verse and the chorus, “Coroner’s Office” is generously sprinkled with delightful songwriting moments. Such as: the back-door, idiosyncratic hook we get here at the end of the verse with the repeating lyric “This is really real” (first heard at 0:39). And check out how the melody, which feels simple note to note, has the winsome tendency to leap up and down.
Note too how well Chandler’s blasé, wavering voice serves this kind of melody, and how well his phrasing serves the lyrics. Such as (0:57): “But you don’t know what she’s capable of/In the back of an old Chevrolet,” and listen to how he phrases that exactly as he might speak it, running the “know what she’s” part together whereas most singers would be tempted to accent the “know,” which makes sense singing but not talking. I appreciate too how his voice may be somewhat muffled but is still entirely present, the lyrics intelligible rather than turbid.
And then there are the tangential sounds, like the bright bell-like synth we get at 1:14 in the chorus, and then that wind-like synth that sweeps in at 1:50, and, further, that even more bell-like sound that chimes in at 1:58. This is what adds texture and heft.
The Seattle-based duo came together via Craigslist, each looking for a bandmate. Their mutual love of pioneering alternative rock bands (Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, New Order, Pavement, Jesus & Mary Chain, et al) spawned Lux in early 2010. A first EP emerged five months later. Their self-released debut album, We Are Not The Same, is coming in early April.
photo credit: The Ripper