It’s “Discharge,” the third song, and, part of the way through it, the guitar starts scorching and the drums throb with a kind of reckless abandon; after a brief lull, there are eight quick, successive hits on the drum kit and the whole band just goes into meltdown mode. It’s riveting stuff, the kind of thing you hunger to share with friends – but it’s just not enough to save a record whose songs, even in their brightest moments, sound like photocopies of each other.
Opener “Anguish” and follow-up “Slow” sound so similar, in fact, that I wondered if there was an error in sequencing. Could the time and notes really be repeating? It’ll take listeners a full minute or so to realize they’re two different songs. And that’s a real shame because The Lumes show a lot of promise, with their reverb-drenched, post-punk guitars and buoyed bass and all.
Take the opening of “Compulsion,” all explosions in your face and throttling guitar. But, unfortunately, the band follows it with the same monotone sing-speak over glittery guitars and marching drums they feature on almost every song on the EP. The choruses on “Compulsion” are multi-dimensional and, damn, almost downright enthralling, hinting at the best of glass-guitar-driven bands like Blacksonny (remember them?) and even, though it’s more of a stretch, the shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine. But it doesn’t last.
Or take the album-closing “Who Makes Me Try?,” where the band plays with reverb and digital delay to careful effect. (The bass, buoyed as ever, is essential to the procession.) Again, the chorus, where the sing-speak morphs into a bark and the guitar lets loose, has an inviting recklessness to it. But is it enough to sustain over six songs?
There’s a lot to like about Envy. But there’s a lot about it that needs some fixing, too, and that will leave listeners ultimately underwhelmed.