Hong Kong based indie-pop band Lucid Express has recently released their debut self-titled LP, years after the band’s founding in 2014. The road to this release was long and turbulent. The band formed just prior to the Umbrella Movement, one of many pro-democracy protests in their home city. The band continued to make music through both social turbulence, and personal challenges; their recording time found late at night between working long hours at their day jobs. These challenges seem to shape the emotional, dream-pop feeling of Lucid Express’ debut album.
The album opens with the driving drum beats and nostalgic melody of “North Action”. This single is also part of a psychedelic music video by London artist Nick Scott. “Hotel 65” follows, showcasing distinctive elements Lucid Express’ sound, including use of many effects and waves of intensity in the music. “Ado”, which follows, takes a lighter touch, and showcases the talent of the band’s two guitarists.
Watch the video for “North Action” below
The next song on the album, “Sore” demonstrates how the band is able to convey emotions in their atmospheric style. Sound-wise, it fits perfectly to its title. The effects, and the subtle dissonance in the melody, evoke feelings of being tired and sore. However, the next song “Hollowers” does fall into an issue of pulling too many ways at once, and coming out without a cohesive sound because of it, though the individual elements are well crafted. “No Talk”quickly drives out any bad taste from the last song though, perfectly blending together multiple contrasting melodies.
“Aquarium”, though quite a different song than “Sore”, also fits quite perfectly to it’s name, echoey atmosphere and drip-like percussion evoking the image of the title. It also has a different kind of vocal effect from the other songs on the album, which lends more clarity to the lyrics. “Welwave” which follows showcases the band’s electronic effects particularly well.
The penultimate song of the album “Prime of Pride” makes use of contrast, as many of their songs do, but makes it unique, bringing together a surprisingly upbeat melody with walls of sound and effects. “Ride the Night”, the final song makes use of similar instrumentation but ends with a settling melancholy.
Overall, Lucid Express is an impressive long form work. The band does an amazing job of expressing powerful emotions through music using all of the tools at their disposal. The finished work is beautiful and impressive, well worth the listen.