2021 has proven to be a rather benchmark year for Arizona-based darkwave project Lycia, a band that remains near and dear to our hearts. Just a few months ago, their seminal debut LP Ionia was lovingly reissued on vinyl by Avantgarde, making the album more readily available for both vinyl collectors and new and old fans of the band alike. Not content with resting on this important milestone, Lycia have also been hard at work on new material, retaining the core lineup of Mike VanPortfleet (vocals, guitar, bass, synth), Tara Vanflower (vocals), David Galas (bass, drums), and John Fair (synths, drum programming). With that in mind, we’re honored to feature an exclusive full stream of Lycia’s new EP Casa Luna, which is due out on Avantgarde on June 11th. Listen below:
Over the course of Casa Luna‘s six tracks, Lycia explore an impressive array of styles and sounds, all of which tap into various periods in the band’s thirty-year career. The EP begins with “A Quiet Way To Go,” which combines layers of warm synths and carefully plucked guitar lines with both VanPortfleet and Vanflower’s mantra-esque vocals, serving as a haunting introduction to the fruits that follow. “Do You Bleed” quickly takes control with a heavier, textured grind and Vanflower’s vocals swimming through waves of echo and ambience, flirting with the powerful cacophony that made 1989’s Wake and 1991’s Ionia so gripping upon their initial release. “Except” continues to explore more dance-oriented territory, an electronic influence that began to reveal itself fully in 2018’s In Flickers and that breathes an infectious sense of energy into Lycia’s ethereal bedrock. “Galatea” treads similar ground, both tracks ripe for soon-to-be-flourishing dance floors yet remaining truly singular in a way that no other modern band can boast, a true case of influence manifesting clearly but not fully eviscerating a band’s roots. Both “On the Mezzanine” and closing track “Salt & Blood” are classic Lycia through and through, two emotionally devastating tracks that cut deep even with the most delicate of instrumentation.
Clocking in at 27 minutes, the EP demands a repeat listen (or three), with each subsequent playthrough unlocking more of its majesty and mystery. After the dust settles, it’s apparent that no band has ever sounded this vital after so many years, so true to their roots yet ripe for evolution, and we’re grateful for every second that kisses our ears.
Cover art by Tara Vanflower