With the growing success of bands like Greta Van Fleet and The Struts, plus the record-breaking Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, powerful radio rock is once again having a moment. Danish group Lucer are throwing themselves into this ever-growing mix of catchy tunes with their second album, Ghost Town. Not the name you might expect for a rock album with hints of ‘Motown and disco’ thrown in for good measure, but then, to quote an age-old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover.
Certainly one of the least ‘metal’ album I have reviewed for this station, Ghost Town has its fingers in a lot of pies, musically speaking. Opening track Indestructable uses slow, heavy drumming and a fat bass under clean guitar chords to create a cross between Imagine Dragons and an indie rock band. Ghost Town uses reggae guitar rhythms, Crazy experiments with electronic drumming and multi-layered backing vocals, whereas California embraces 90s alt./pop rock with its guitar and bass style reminiscent of The Dandy Warhols. It’s not until several tracks into the album that more traditional rock songs begin to appear. Not that this is always a good thing. The rhythms and chorus of Young Pretty Stupid sounds irritatingly similar to Fat Bottomed Girls, so much so that you find yourself wanting to listen to the far superior Queen song instead. Lucers qualities are showcased much better on The Night The Music Died and Party Like A Rockstar. The former is a fine example of a power ballad that will have you singing along in no time. The latter is a upbeat party rock track (if the title didn’t make that obvious) that satirises the desire to become a stereotypical rockstar. Both equally infectious tracks.
While the numerous sing-along moments, catchy melodies and bouncy mid-tempo rhythms will appeal to most rock fans, the lyrics may grate with some listeners. While English is presumably the composers second language, the well penned verse and chorus of songs like The Night The Music Died indicate they have a strong grasp of it, which makes the bad lyrics elsewhere on the album that bit more annoying. The atmospheric electronic layers on the chorus of Crazy is tainted somewhat by the repeated ‘crazy bitches’ line: the lyrics and the vibe the song seems to be going for just don’t match up. Further down the tracklist, Young Pretty Stupid sounds like it was written by a computer who just assembled every cliché in the book about a young girl selling her body for fame and money. One of the musically strongest songs on the album, The Good Life, refers to obtaining a ‘house wife’ and a ‘steak knife’ in order to cut a ‘piece of what they call the good life’. Not one of the finest metaphors ever written down. Overall, such moments don’t take up a huge amount of the album run time, but they’re the ones that stuck in my head.
If fun and easily accessible rock tunes are what you are after, then Ghost Town is certainly worth a spin. Many of the songs, for good or ill, stayed stuck in my head for many days after I stopped listening to it, so Lucer have nailed the infectious chorus. Many of the tracks aren’t particularly original, with Young Pretty Stupid being the worst culprit, but they are all well crafted songs delivered with enthusiasm. The lyrics are often the weak point, but, as with most things, they are entirely subjective, and won’t annoy others as much as myself. Equally, there are many people for whom lyrics are the least important part of a track. As long as they are coherent and make basic sense there is no issue. While Ghost Town is fat from perfect, it is a good stake in the ground for Lucer to build on and increase their presence in the radio rock world.
Highlights: The Night The Music Dies and The Good Life.
You can find Lucer on Facebook.