I need to preface this with a statement: I am biased when it comes to vocalist Pete Murray and any of the projects he is involved in. On my top vocalists of all time list, he’s in the Top 5. Easily. His work in Ultraspank, Lo-Pro, and now Life on Planet 9 are astounding and, unfortunately, largely overlooked by the mainstream.
To think that someone capable of such aggression on Ultraspank classics like “Burnt” and “Jackass” could transition and pull off moments of beauty in Lo-Pro on songs like “Thread” and “Oblivion” is such a rarity in modern music.
While Lo-Pro is much more of an evolution beyond the industrial rage of Ultraspank, Life On Planet 9 is more a companion that co-exists in a world where Lo-Pro is alive and well. LOP9’s just released debut, Bittersweet, is an acoustic electronic journey into perfection. I’m not saying this because I’m already a fan of the band, I’m saying it because it’s true.
“Holding On” is a great intro to Bittersweet and its electro-acoustic style but the real opener for me is second track “Sweet Silence”. You can just picture yourself staring out that window on a rainy afternoon as the band lays down a slick groove and Murray howls “How long must I be strong? How long will I feel wrong?”. And to totally throw you, check out “CU Soon NY” and its’ hypnotic loop of music and Murray’s barely audible at points and barely recognizable performance thanks to the octave he sings in.
“Line Stepper” closes out this 10-track masterpiece in a surprisingly uptempo way. It’s a song where all the stars align perfectly to create the best kind of musical moment. There’s a simple, yet steady, drum beat that keeps the song going. There’s the subtle guitar and electronics in the background. And then there’s Murray who is just the icing here with his expertly crafted controlled aggression (See also “Bittersweet” and “Goodbye”) out in full force. This one definitely stands out from the rest sonically and maybe serves as a prelude for a new Lo-Pro? Wishful thinking, but it could happen.
Bittersweet has been in the works for some time so to have this come just over a year after Lo-Pro’s The Beautiful Sounds Of Revenge was released in 2010 (Which came 7 years after their debut) is a triumph in itself.
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