Lustra for life
ECHOBELLY have floated to the surface of the bubbling turmoil which constitutes the British music scene but something's changed. Something's not right. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Words: Brian Donaldson
Those of you who have joyfully jigged your little booties to the wireless-friendly. top of the chart- worrying singles from the Echobelly camp are in for the fright of your lives. Their third album. and proud successor to livervorieis‘ Got One and 0/1, Lustm is a darkly therapeutic collection of . . . well. why not let vocalist and lyricist Sonya Aurora Madan speak for herself.
‘lf you know Echobelly from our very first EP Bel/yacht) and the B-sides. you will hear the same influences as are on this album.’ she insists. ‘lf you know Echobelly from the singles. you think of these anthemic pop songs so it may seem like a departure. It’s something that we were aware of and we were also aware that it may have backfired on us — people don't often like change. but sometimes you have to do what you feel is right.‘
One possible reason for the shift in emphasis could be the departure of guitarist Debbie Smith. under circumstances which have left some bad feeling. However. the end of the band was never in serious question and ship-leaving for solo glory is not something which Madan has considered. ‘l’ve got a lot more I need to get out with Echobelly. This is the first band I’ve ever been in so I’ve only ever written songs
42 THE “ST 7 NOV-20 Nov 1997
'Obviously, "lustra" isn't a word, but it embodied what I’m trying to say on the album -— it's a dark, shiny, powerful, sexual
Echobelly: hungry at heart
with Glenn (Johansson, co-writer and guitarist).’
And what of the album title Lustra? Well. don’t bother flicking through your nearest Chambers. Collins or your bedside C omp/etc Glossary Of Words Which Make Cool Album Titles, for you’ll be wasting your time. ‘I wanted a word that encompassed the vibe of the album and picking a literal word sometimes doesn‘t do that for me.‘ Madan points out. ‘Obviously. “lustra” isn‘t a word. but it embodied what I'm trying to say on the album — it‘s a dark, shiny. powerful. sexual word. I think in Latin it means five and we’ve been together for live Years.’ Kind of spooky. ‘But that’s pure coincidence.‘ Oh, right.
Conscioust or otherwise. the Echobelly of Lustra will fit perfectly into the current British non- movement movement which has seen The Verve and
Radiohead sweep away the final dusty remnants of
Britpop. The sound and ambition is bigger - Bigpop‘? — when compared to the self- contained. perky. three and a half minute soundbite sub- genre which briefly brought a renewed vigour into the UK music scene. For Echobelly’s part. Glenn Johansson’s aural spreads are complemeted by Sonya’s lyrics. which have taken on a deeper substance and wider range.
‘The subject matter is a lot darker.‘ reflects Madan. mBulldog Baby" is very filmatic in its approach and. lyrically. it is fragmented visions of chaos. anarchy and quite disturbing. It‘s like when you see something out of the corner of your eye and you can’t quite get it. “I’m Not A Saint" is about a schizophrenic commiting a murder told in the first person. My friends think it’s a love song — it isn‘t. Then there‘s "Angel B" which is about obsession and “Bleed” is about isolation.‘ Don’t listen alone.
Lustra (Sony) is released on 10 Nov; Echobelly play Glasgow Plaza, Mon 8 Dec.
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