Written for DIY Magazine.
It has been five years since New York pop-punk trio Lemuria released their last album The Distance is So Big, but their new fourth album Recreational Hate leaves a lot to be desired, not least by its brevity – a concise, yet very laid-back twenty-seven minutes.
Despite the ominous title, Recreational Hate isn’t nearly as terrifying as it first sounds, as subject matter orbits around music and love at first sight. Vocalist Sheena Ozzella expresses her adoration for Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie during ‘Christine Perfect’. More than anything, the album represents light-heartedly turning one’s back on the titular ‘hate’ as opposed to unleashing one’s own fury. You can still make a noise from the back of the stage.
The innocence and vagueness of the lyrics and subject matter, matches the stream of thought of somebody approaching their first crush, across the playground, unsure of how to profess their love for them. What they might lack in precision, they are made up for by just how surreal they become. Look no further than ‘Sliver of Change’, during which Ozzella describes her special somebody, in her signature smooth and melodic style, as “just like a sponge that’s lost its absorption, [he has] no saturation”.
These unusual and unsure moments are part of the album’s slight charm, and similarly, it is laced with sounds which appear for a few seconds only not to return again for the rest of the album. For example, eventful album highlight ‘More Tunnel’ begins with lonely, atmospherically echoed female vocals, it features a very disjointed rhythm, and closes on a shamelessly fun and cheesy synths. Unfortunately, several other tracks sound very sparse, empty and unremarkable by comparison, such as male-female call-and-response ‘Wanted to Be Yours’.
Recreational Hate fulfils its title – it makes playful chaos as relaxed and harmless as possible. The album is sprinkled with various curiosities, but they lose their effect as the songs’ ideas are somewhat half-baked.