The Lucid Hoops have become known down under for their electrically charged, charismatic live shows that drag and pull and push a no-doubt sweat-soaked audience on a loud guitar-fed rollercoaster of a ride, a non-stop journey through an exciting and compelling brand of indie and punk rock, its roots most definitely in the nineties but crafted and sculptured for a brand new century, with an unforgiving and fresh modern-day twist that leaves you breathlessly shaking, exhausted but fully satisfied. But, could a young band renowned for their live performances recapture that unique electric and excitement ravaged sound, the very essence of their on-stage persona, and successfully lay it down ferociously enough on an eagerly awaited debut E.P.?
Based on a name that lead singer Ash Gee coined for herself in early childhood, Lucid Hoops unashamedly pay their special brand of homage to the likes of Garbage and The White Stripes, via No Doubt and with a rawness akin to early Smashing Pumpkins. But then they endeavour to colour it and embolden it with their own very personal interpretation of voice, guitars and drums, producing a modern-day cacophony full of indie twists and punk-thrashing turns, sculptured and crafted by a deceptively sweet voice fed from a young age on the vocal tones of a Shirley Manson, at her most rebellious, and an attitude-laden Gwen Stefani, at her most vibrant. A new voice splashed across an old canvass, alluding to a sense of vulnerability, intriguing and alluring in equal measure, then quickly angst-driven and opinionated, threatening but with certain charm, reminiscent of the very best of female band leaders from punk’s supposedly golden age; looking every bit the performer at the front of the stage and confident that the rest of the band will rock out in support for as long as the melodic lyrics and the guitar-thrashed, drum-thumped rhythms will allow them.
Beneath this fiery harshness though, and founded from somewhere within this four-piece’s emotions, the songs showcase prose-driven lyrics brought to life by deeply personal experiences that you can feel still bleeding from an open wound, in every angst heavy line and fiery beat. They unashamedly touch on mental health issues for example, then quickly turn and flip to contemplate the state of society in this modern world, even before the worldwide lock down. They lay bare, with a fearlessness and wisdom above and beyond youthful years, the depths of personal relationships, each song a vessel to pack a meaning filled punch that will resonate to the awaiting audience stretching far outside Australia, yet keep their songs personal and grounded in their truth, no matter how raw. Here then is a debut E.P. containing 5 heartfelt songs, of lived-with and truly experienced emotions; of questioning love and desire, and the insecure feelings that it may be undeserved; exploring the frustrations in an unrequited relationship; of recovering from a broken heart, trying to somehow put the broken pieces back together again.
Released at the end of June, Diviner, with it’s stark artwork of simplistic but powerful and bold black and white, includes some of the band’s earliest songs, each perfected and given flesh on stage in Sydney’s clubs, and, in the studio, still delivered with that living sense of pent up fury, without recourse or fear, and obviously so incredibly personal to each and every one of them: the wounded hearts clearly worn upon their ragged sleeves.
Get Me Out Of Here, bursts the E.P. into life immediately with Connor Barratt’s gnarling and snarling guitar riff, and with the furious drumming of Luke Willis quickly introducing Ash, urgent and Stefani-like, begging for some kind of release. During Night Time, her vocals are softer but no less passionate or beseeching, and add a haunting and vulnerable melody that softens the urgent punk rock rhythm.
Glass, in spite of the guitar, suggests fragility, a beguiling vocal teetering now on the very edge. But melody and rhythm compliment each other though, brought in off a smoky stage and given a lasting home. The lyric aims to explain and calm and seek answers, whilst the guitars and drums remind of pain and fragility. Something To Earn, the fourth song to be taken from the E.P., is sad and full of almost remorseful melancholy. Ash’s voice is full of expression, whilst the guitars and drums now gently play a supportive role, helping to soothe whilst encourage, a song that no doubt is a highlight of their shows.
Moods, is Bass Guitarist Jack Barratt’s opportunity to shine, this time providing the lifeblood to a song that is deceptively catchy and that, at first, draws you in and invites you ever closer, before the twins’ skilful and practised guitar work yanks you away from her again, ever protective, mindful and rightly suspicious. These are the feelings Diviner first evoked in me, and those initial feelings have never receded. It is hard to believe that this is a debut offering. The E.P. is living and exciting, raw and unencumbered, and Lucid Hoops encapsulate that with their look; mean and moody, but approachable. Just don’t get too close!
Which makes it even more surprising that this E.P. may never have happened at all if it hadn’t have been for the unique Crowdfunding exploits set up and led by their management company and, in particular, their manager, Lucas.
“I got the idea when I was studying for my Diploma of Music Business,” he explains. “One of my classes was, ‘Raising Money in the Music industry’, and one of my assessments was to actually pull together a mock-up Crowdfund.
“When I finally convinced the band it was a good risk to take,” it took about 3 months of discussions, “I was able to use the version I made for the assessment as a template and with all the advice I got from my teacher, how to make it even better. Being one of the first crowd funds in our scene was it’s own promotion,” Lucas continues. “We knew that people wanted to support us, which we’re very thankful for, and that word would get around.”
Lucid Hoops are: Ash Gee on Vocals, Twins Connor and Jack Barratt on Guitar and Bass Guitar respectively, and Luke Willis on Drums.
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