The self-titled debut LP from Lucid Express is out now via Kanine Records. The 10-track collection features previous single releases Wellwave, Hollowers, and Hotel 65, which were responsible for introducing listeners to the range of lush atmospheric moods that infuse this debut. From the gently defiant brightness of Wellwave, through the darker shades of Hollowers, to the crashing walls of sound within Hotel 65, ‘Lucid Express’ is a collection of carefully crafted songs that explore young relationships, the group’s love for music, and their struggle to carve their own place in the Hong Kong music scene.
Alongside this album release, the band also shared the video for opening track, North Acton. This visual was created by London-based artist Nick Scott (who also designed the album artwork) and delivers a psychedelic collage that transports the viewer across his hometown, while contrasting this journey against landscapes of oceans, mountains and clouds. Check out the video clip for North Acton via YouTube below.
Lucid Express is the name of five young dreamers creating an airy blend of shoegaze and indie pop amongst the skyscrapers, mountains, and packed alleyways of Hong Kong.
The name itself is a modest mission statement of the band’s intent. Lucid in the poetic sense of something bright and radiant. The Lucid Express operating as the service to take the listener on a journey through the band’s color-soaked sounds.
The group formed as teens in the winter of 2014, in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement; the latest in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state suppression in their home region. This piece of history is important to begin to understand the impact that these ugly times had and how it led to such beautiful music. As vocalist/synth player, Kim, says “at that time it felt like we have a need to hold on to something more beautiful than before. Like close friendships, the band, our creation.”
Amidst the scenes of tear-gassed and beaten protesters, politically-targeted arrests, and death threats from government officials, Kim was meeting with like-minded musicians Andy, Samuel, Sky, and Wai in the small practice space they rent in the remote industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood. A place to create something that they could call their own. Something that lived outside of the world they were experiencing.
Listening to their blissful, dreamy compositions, it may come as no surprise that these songs carry the mood of their times of inception. With all members of the band working late-night shifts, this led to a rehearsal and recording schedule that found the band playing between midnight and 4am, and then crashing together on the studio floor before returning to work early in the AM.
The result is a collection of enveloping songs about young life, love, and heartache in trying times. Brothers Samuel (bass) and Wai (drums) providing a locked-in drive that gives guitarists Andy and Sky the space to create towering soundscapes of delay, reverb and phasing, all tied together by Kim’s elegant vocals and synth lines.
While writing and recording together did serve as a unifying and soothing presence for Kim and the rest of the band, their music also fell victim to their complicated circumstances. Among the pervasive uncertainty over Hong Kong’s future, a depression set in and found its way into the local music scene as shows began to be cancelled and releases stalled. For a time, it just didn’t feel relevant to be promoting music.
While there is much to still be fought for at home, the group have finally begun to feel a fresh hope in their creations. They’ve reached an understanding of their music’s place amongst the world it inhabits. A sense that it is now time to unveil Lucid Express.
‘Lucid Express’ is available in limited edition turquoise vinyl, as well as being offered in a coke bottle clear finish exclusively at Rough Trade shops. The tracks are given an extra sparkle thanks to the creative mixing of Max Bloom from those noisy UK indie-heads Yuck.
‘Lucid Express’ track listing
Prime Of Pride
Ride The Night