Published Sep 16, 2016The Luyas came out of the mid-2000s orchestral indie pop boom that included Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre (with whom they've shared members). On their last two albums, they added enough proggy, avant-garde poly-textures to give the impression they aspired to be the Radiohead of Canadian indie pop, but in the four years they've been quiet, other bands like Braids have come along and upped the ante for this kind of music.
Now, the Luyas are back after spending time improvising with each other in sessions that yielded this EP (as well as a likely-forthcoming LP). The improv shows: these five tracks wander quite a bit, and while there's cohesion, there's very little action.
Lead singer Jessie Stein never stretches outside her whispery coo; it'd be nice to hear greater dynamic range. Similarly, the band never break out of blurpy, experimental soundscape territory. Even their like-minded peers occasionally break into a big pop chorus or a groovy dance break, but this is mostly middle-of-the-road stuff.
The Luyas have said that their goals going into the recording sessions for this EP were "to get aimless" and "to not write songs at all," and they've describe the results as "lighthearted," "kind of unbalanced" and "mostly improvised." Unfortunately these are all reasons the EP fails to engage or move a listener. There are some pretty sounds and some quirky lyrics but it all feels pretty inconsequential. (Paper Bag)