Despite their modest catalogue—a twice-pressed demo bolstered by a relentless sequence of live gigs — New York City’s Lathe of Heaven have already made their mark as a formidable force within the American post-punk underground. Amidst the roaring resurgence of 80s-style hardcore punk and the pulsing revival of synth-infused post-punk, their potent sonic blend demonstrates that even amidst the clamour, they are not only holding their own but also forging a new path.
Now, Lathe of Heaven stands poised to release their much-anticipated debut LP, “Bound by Naked Skies,” via prestigious NYC label Scared Bones, Crafted with meticulous care, this eleven-track LP infuses elements of British New Wave and Finnish Post-Punk, resulting in a nuanced and intricate homage to the fervour of the 80s. Drawing deeply from the wells of both classic and contemporary science fiction, “Bound by Naked Skies” weaves a unique and intentional harmony, indebted as much to its literary inspirations as to its musical roots.
Their newest single, “Ekpyrosis“—borrowing its name from an ancient Greek term signifying the cyclical obliteration of the cosmos—ventures into cosmic themes. Captured in the raw charm of VHS-style filming, the energetic performance video flexes the dimensions of space and time as effortlessly as the melody of the track. The song harks back to the sound of bands like Killing Joke, Lords of The New Church, and especially Blitz via Second Empire Justice, carrying the timbre of a discovered relic from a bygone era.
Intriguingly, the video interweaves scenes from the Oculus near the World Trade Center. The stark contrast between the modern architectural marvel and the vintage aesthetic of the video that harkens back to the Before Times creates an engaging dissonance. It’s a poignant juxtaposition that blurs the lines between the past and present, much like the band’s distinctive musical amalgamation.
Watch the video for “Ekpyrosis” below:
Emerging in 2021, Lathe of Heaven brings together talents from renowned Brooklyn projects, such as Pawns, People’s Temple, Porvenir Oscuro, Android, Hustler, and beyond. This line-up’s legacy, steeped in a spectrum of genres and abilities, reveals a dynamic musical tableau. Yet, Lathe of Heaven is far from being a mere echo of these past and parallel ventures. Instead, the band embodies an intriguing divergence from these influences, venturing into an uncharted territory of melody that is uniquely their own. Their musical exploration is a bold adventure into a realm distinctly defined by their unique rhythm, timbre, and harmony.
Bound By Naked Skies resonates with profound reverence to the surreal landscapes crafted by authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia Butler, Ken Liu, and, naturally, Ursula Le Guin—whose novel inspired the band’s name. It is these intricate themes of cosmology (Ekpyrosis), simulation (Heralds of the Circuit-Born), mental health struggles (Moon-Driven Sea), and the exploration of being (Entropy, The Spider, etc.) that subtly thread throughout the album’s narrative. This intricate tapestry of themes grants listeners a glimpse into the minds troubled by the uncertainty of humanity’s unsettling and imminent future.
Bound By Naked Skies will be released via Sacred Bones Records on September 1st.
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