Dutch quartet Lewsberg will draw constant VU comparisons. Its inevitable, and largely, I don’t think the band is shirking the comparison. While they embrace the sparse, dry confidence of the band in their early days over the course of In This House, its unfair to hang this and this alone on them. They’re picking at quite a few other scars of the ‘60s and ‘70s as well and making it all simmer down to a rather tasty roux of rock that’s unfettered and yet instantly engaging. In the same way that the early aughts fought the rising tide of complexity in rock by embracing the lower rungs of fidelity and bringing the studio home, the band strips away any excess that may have built up in the past decade or so. They chip away production and chisel hooks down to their most primal qualities. They don’t forgo beauty or charm to do it, and that’s where the Velvets come in. The setup is simple, but in something like the swaying jangle of “At Lunch” there’s the same kernel of pop that made “Candy Says” a staple of mixtapes for generation after generation.
Elsewhere, the band falls into the same sonic baskets The Feelies, who were translating these impulses long before them, but still found a way to make the crisp collars of jangle pop feel necessary. The hum of the band’s gears is audible in the mix, but it only endears them further to the listener. The band wields the elastic snap of guitars and the brittle delivery of matter of fact hooks in the same manner that Parquet Courts have made their bedrock, but they soften the edges to make it seem almost effortless. Within the confines of In This House, despite it dredging up all these comparisons, there’s the feeling that the band just organically landed here. They’re unencumbered because they don’t feel the need to dress up the melodies with distraction. They’re straightforward with their songwriting because clutter makes them cringe and less is indeed more. There’s a reason that sounds like this have their own gravitational pull. We’re attracted to the sounds that don’t need us, the records that couldn’t seem to care if you listen or leave and that’s exactly what’s here. Its a record that exists of its own volition. If you engage, all the better, but Lewsberg are going to saw at the raw nerves valley that exists between punk, pop, and poetry all the same.
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