Published Feb 22, 2017The Luyas have been a band for ten years, but they've only now returned from a few years off to regroup following the back-to-back successes of 2011's Too Beautiful to Work and 2012's Animator. When they got back together to work on new material, they reportedly decided to see what their collective improvising could bring about. The result was their late-2016 EP, Says You, which offered a glimpse at some of their capabilities (mainly proggy but mellow indie rock soundscapes); on Human Voicing, the Luyas' new full-length, they stretch even further, incorporating even more liveliness and dynamism than before.
Fortunately, the songs seem more structured and purposeful this time around. Lead single "Self-Unemployed" is a nervous Krautrock jam expressing the anxiety of economic precariousness, while "Dream of Love" brings to mind Air's lushly romantic score for The Virgin Suicides.
At the risk of imposing preconceptions of intent onto it, standout track "No Domination" feels something like a feminist anthem, with the repeated words "no domination, no exclusion" and the more abstract line "when women shave their heads, you can really see their eyes," but whether or not the song is specifically about challenging patriarchy, as with lots of great storytelling, Jessie Stein uses symbolism and allusion to offer a listener what they might already know and feel. This album contains a lot of cool smaller quirks, too; the drum fill at the start of "Beating Bowser" and melting effect on Stein's voice at the climax of "All of Everything" are examples.
By engaging the listener in both large and small ways, the Luyas have made another great record that balances progressive experimentation with accessible catchiness. (Paper Bag)