After releasing their debut record ‘Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’, an album about two lost souls trying to make sense of this modern dystopia in which we live in, Lost Under Heaven brought their first cycle to a close in December of 2016. Culminating at a night titled Congregation of Youth Dissent at Salford’s White Hotel, this was more than a celebration. It was a community coming together to witness something special. No longer was Lost Under Heaven just Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn (the project’s founders and key members), everyone in that room became a part of LUH.
So it only seemed right that Lost Under Heaven made their return, after going away to write and record their sophomore, by playing The White Hotel once again. This time taking up a four day residency at the venue, and also acting as an opportunity to showcase some of their favourite and closest contemporaries on the bill, this would benchmark a new chapter for LUH.
From the outside of The White Hotel, you’d think you were about to go for an M.O.T. So much so, even the signage on the side of the building reads that it was once a car garage. Overlooked by Strangeways, there’s a peculiar mix of uncertainty and perplexity in the air. However once inside, you are transported into another realm. Smoke completely envelops the room, meaning every step is to be taken with absolute caution. Towards the back of the venue, local drone artist Stupid Cosmonaut plays. Dark and malevolent loops fill the ice cold void with an intense wall of atmospheric sound, whilst a CCTV art installation by Nicole Prior is projected onto the wall. Exhibiting the audience’s movements with a two to three second delay, it was like Twin Peaks’ Black Lodge had set up shop in Salford.
Back in the main room, Pearl City take to the stage. A mixture of twisted dark-wave and hypnotic vocals, this 20 to 25 minute set is pure avant-pop perfection. Shortly after, under a veil of mist and concealment, Lost Under Heaven appear onstage…
With a new record seemingly on the horizon, a large portion of the set is made up of new material. ‘Bunny’s Blues’ sees Ebony leading the vocals and delivering them with the coolness and brio of Sky Ferreira, whilst the slow and moody duet of ‘Black Sun Rising’ cements Ellery and Ebony’s onstage chemistry. ‘Savage Messiah’, a track that Ellery says is his favourite out of the new batch LUH have penned, is a wicked blues infused track about a preacher that shows progression in the band’s songwriting.
Jokingly asking for two pits before beginning, LUH prepare for a new highlight in their live show arsenal. Titled ‘Teen Violence’, it displays Lost Under Heaven at their most ferocious and volatile. And even though this type of emotion and vigor has always been ever-present in the band’s music, this degree is a new height and shows huge promise for the upcoming record.
Since their last shows, LUH have also gone under a slight live personnel change. Ebony has fully taken up bass duties, whilst Ben Kelly is now their new drummer. However, despite this shake up, every track off of ‘Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’ sounds better than ever. ‘Lost Under Heaven’s riffs are thick and menacing, while the self-referential ‘$oro’ is cataclysmic with its earth shattering finale.
As for ‘Lament’, the first track to surface after Ellery’s post-WU LYF almost five years ago, its intense ardour still resonates with every mind and soul in the building. A monumental call to arms, the closing lyrics “To the powers of old, to the powers that be/ You have fucked up this world but you will not fuck with me” ring out as relevant as ever.
As the set comes to a close, latest single ‘Breath of Light’ is met with rapturous applause, whilst the rousing ‘I&I’ builds and builds with metaphysical eloquence. Closer ‘For The Wild’, another fresh cut, is unadulterated euphoric ecstasy that brings LUH’s triumphant return to a flawless finish.
Like a tiny speck in a rear-view mirror, phase one of Lost Under Heaven is long gone. However, this next auspicious step for LUH is not a reinvention, nor a rejuvenation; this is a rebirth and it’s only just begun.
- - -
Words: Liam Egan
Photography: Coralie Monnet
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.