After a brief few days away, I figured a little dreamy dream-pop is a great way to start the week back up. It’s always easy on the ears, feels a touch nostalgic and intangibly familiar, it’s full of layers of textures of layers of spangled, glittery haze and melody, and it just reminds me of easier times. At least, that’s what comes to mind when I listen to “Somewhere” from Japanese dream-pop and semi-shoegaze outfit Luby Sparks.
Honestly, I’d never heard of this five-piece until about an hour ago. They’re from Tokyo, Japan, seem to have more than a passing affinity for the early 90s Brit indie scene, and have a self-titled record produced by U.K. act Yuck’s Max Bloom. At least, that’s what I’ve been able to glean from a quick google search. Oh yeah … I also think they’re still attending University … or were at the time of recording their LP. So despite being pretty young, they’re off to a remarkable start … sort of like a lot of those ’90s Brit acts that first pioneered the ethereal wall of sound and dreams.
Speaking of … that video above actually embodies a lot of those qualities, and visually, almost feels of the era. But I should note that’s the original single that came out in September. And what got me going this eve with Luby Sparks was the remixed version from Robin Guthrie, which popped up on my Discover Weekly playlist a short time ago.
Guthrie, as some might recall, was one-third of the seminal dream-pop act Cocteau Twins, which featured the incomparable, effervescent and extraordinary vocalist Elizabeth Fraser. I can’t really describe her voice with any language that would do her justice. You just have to experience it for yourself.
That said, Guthrie lends much of his trademark style to Luby Sparks with his remix of “Somewhere.” Curiously, a lot of the original’s foundation is intact. Guthrie slows it down a touch, and spreads out the space a bit more, crafting a warm cavernous echo chamber of mirror-ball reverb and sparkling guitars. And although Emily’s vocals (she only goes by her first name) possess a certain ethereal quality all her own, here she shares hints of Fraser’s flavor. All good things …
Check out the official lyric-based music video below.
This time around, I thought it would be more fun to start with music video embeds, then end on the Spotify links.
I’m also going to include one more track from their 2018 debut called “Hateful Summer,” which veers in a more uptempo direction. It’s a little noisier and faster, more shoegazed than dream-popped, but still very much Luby Sparks. I was just sampling the album while I was writing this post, and ended up liking it quite a bit. So I’ll start with that embed, followed by the two renditions of “Somewhere.”
That’s all for tonight. Enjoy!
“Hateful Summer” from the 2018 album “Luby Sparks.”
“Somewhere (Robin Guthrie Remix)” from the 2019 single.
“Somewhere” from the 2019 single.