Lungfish: Feral Hymns
Seventeen years into its living hibernation, Lungfish hatches it 11th album, and the usual cliché about Lungfish sounding like Lungfish is both spot on and slightly off. Yes, Asa Osborne still makes anthem alchemy out of but two guitar chords per song; drummer Mitchell Feldstein maintains a pulsating heartbeat’s insistence that bassist Sean Meadows fills out with muscular, meandering mantra lines; Daniel Higgs still sings lines that peel layers off the teeth. The difference is that Feral Hymns sounds rougher, rawer, and more immediate than Lungfish albums of the recent past. Recorded with the Fucking Champs’ Tim Green out in San Francisco, Feral bristles with a live-in-the-studio energy, a kineticism that lends the album’s lovely instrumental moments (“Picture Music,” “Invert the State,” “Interdimensional Seams”) a spontaneous spark, and stokes Lungfish’s usual slow-burn song embers to white-hot irons. Sublime moments: “Sing,” the ecstatic moment as universal creative parthanogenisis, and “You Are the War,” which may be the noisiest song in the band’s catalog. Feldstein and Meadows squeeze rhythmic chunks out of their instruments as if pigment blobs from oil-paint tubes, over which Osborne’s unhinged distortion reverberates like an animal’s roar and joins Higgs’ screaming-at-the-sky lines such as “You are the I-am-that-I-am you are.” For more information, visit www.dischord.com.