What’s new in the world of Montreal’s The Luyas is their excellent second record, Too Beautiful to Work, out February 22nd. The music is spontaneously combusting, an explosion of avant-pop, collage, electronics and forward thinking.
When I admit that I’m still taken aback even after several listens, and still trying to align the sounds and directions, singer and guitarist Jessie Stein laughs it off. “Well you know, three years or whatever.”
Three years since their self-recorded debut Faker Death wowed us, a time span over which the band has matured musically through countless shows and tours here and there, gained a crucial fourth member (the affable organist Mathieu Charbonneau), put their various side projects to rest (Bell Orchestre, Miracle Fortress, Torngat) and finally signed to one of the best indies in the world (Dead Oceans).
The Inner Workings
Stein and Charbonneau, along with founding players Pietro Amato (French horn, electronics) and Stef Schneider (drums, keyboards), trekked to Toronto last year to make the album with engineer Jeff McMurrich (Tindersticks, Constantines).
“Basically, how it happened is we had sketches of songs, an idea for how we were going to arrange it a little bit,” says Stein. “But, we did a lot of the development in the studio and I think that is a major contributing factor as well. Also, when we made our first record together we had only been a band for four months, and you know, playing together for a long time is an underrated thing I think in this day and age.”
Among the guests who lend a hand are Owen Pallett, who plays the violin and arranges the strings, Colin Stetson on saxophone and clarinet, Sarah Neufeld of Arcade Fire also on violin, and Daniel Romano from Attack in Black on bass.
Their space in this place called earth is rocked by a philosophy unique to artists who view their work as art, not necessarily as a commodity. “For us it was super important to not really be under the gun of the music industry at all for a really long time and just play a lot of music together, and try and make up new sounds,” mentions Stein.
“Lots of rehearsals and lots of messing around in the jam space. When we came to the studio we decided to keep that a major feature of how we did it.”
The band then found the perfect partners in crime for their master plan of taking over the world. Engineer McMurrich and a partner are releasing Too Beautiful to Work on their new boutique label here in Canada, Idée Fixe, while Dead Oceans stands alone according to Jessie Stein.
“They really do try to work with stuff that maybe other people would shy away from for whatever reason. They’re not afraid of a risk which is really cool, because that’s where the real success is anyways, isn’t it? The real exciting stories are the ones you didn’t see coming.”
If you know The Luyas, then you saw this one.
February 24th | Sala Rossa