Post-rock Band Lume Explores Grief, Survival on 'Wrung Out' (album stream)

Jedd Beaudoin
Photo: Jade Amey

Chicago post-rock trio Lume carries listeners through a long night of the soul on superb new album Wrung Out.

Hard times can breed great art. Though cliché, it certainly applies to Wrung Out, the new LP from Lume. When the band set about penning new material, the initial inclination was to create a record dealing with the classic struggle of the individual in society. However, when the members suffered the deaths of three close friends, the songs took on a different shape, a way of processing the grief one feels after losing a loved one but also the pain specific to loss from suicide and addiction.

The piece "Unending" in particular reflects where the band was coming from after 2016. Vocalist Daniel Butler has described it as "essentially me trying to put myself in their headspace of not being able to feel anything on either a mental or physical level, not being able to hear what anyone has to say, not being able to see the worth of your own life, or recognize the presence of others".

Working with producer Mike Watts (Glassjaw, Dillinger Escape Plan, O'Brother), the group has arrived at an album that is heavy in the traditional sense of the word (the titular track, for one) but features more expansive, tuneful fare that calls to mind the likes of Joy Division/New Order or even earlier Minus The Bear ("Gaze", arguably one of the album's best tracks). There are throwbacks to the dark, dangerous glory days of alternative rock (the haunting, seductive "Lean"; "Shudder") as well as moments of earth-shattering catharsis ("Already Low"). (Additional collaborations came from Johnny Dang ( O'Brother) and Spencer Ussery ( Big Jesus).)

Those looking for comparisons to other acts might also tack on Soundgarden, Radiohead and Cloakroom but further comparisons become unnecessary as Lume stands firmly in its own category now, a band that has emerged sadder but, ultimately, wiser for its pain.

In sum, this is an album that leaves the listener spent once the final track winds to a close, once we've experienced the harrowing heartbreak that inspired the songs and relived our own glimpses of pain. It serves as a guide through our own grief and a way to see the light once more, a companion whose presence we embrace with deep reverence. It leaves us Wrung Out but still alive, thankful to feel something even if it's the sadness that loss leaves us with.

Wrung Out is out 20 April via Equal Vision.

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