In Eats the Light, longtime Lotus listeners would have trouble finding fault with the latest of the ensembles’ release . Yet there is inconspicuous evolution in aspects from long-now-passed albums like Nomad, Escaping Sargasso Sea, and Hammerstrike. Lead guitarist Mike Rempel and his familiar tone are present in his often geometric-like riffs. In contrast to most of their past works’, Eats the Light includes many vocal tracks. This, in a bit of disparity to the many instrumental songs that helped build their fame…an aspect which on first glance may not seem conducive to Lotus’ style. It has been executed brilliantly on this album, though.
The first thirty seconds of the opening track, “Fearless” lets the listener know quickly that the Lotus they know and love is still here, but joined by some new friends and ideas. This eclectic new mix is almost certain to be a hit at live shows, singing along has not often been a part of an evening with Lotus live. The catchy vocals give the opening track a pop feel contrasted by a deep electro-bass from bassist and keyboardist Jesse Miller. The group has long excelled in their cohesiveness in which the whole may be greater than the sum of the parts. There may not be a future Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer in the lineup, but the knowledge and connection of over fifteen years of collaboration helps Lotus perform on a level of cohesiveness matched by few current bands.
The title track of the album has been available for months now, but my ears were lucky enough to catch the live debut on their winter tour this past January. As if it were not shocking, the band executed “Eats the Light” tightly as usual with each live song. Some of the voices throughout the duration of the LP Eats the Light may be recognized by longtime fans from Lotus’ earlier works. Steve Yutzy-Burkey, likely most recognizable as the singer in Lotus’ longtime hit “Tip Of The Tongue”, but has contributed on many more tracks, makes an appearance again. Other vocalists who join him include Oriel Poole and Johnny Fissinger.
In its five prior releases (as well as during live performances), the band has branched out into many genres, incorporating many other styles of music into their own. This has become a nearly indescribable collection of genres that can switch not just song-to-song, but in the midst of the song itself. “Anti-Gravity (ft. Oriel Poole)” could easily be hidden on a Moby album, and “Sodium Vapor” has a strong Wilco sound, yet both still are CERTAINLY identifiable as Lotus when the song is fully listened to. “Sleep When We Are Dead” sounds like the hybrid child of Tame Impala and Ratatat for moments, after which “White Light Fadeaway” transports the listener to an ‘80s alt-electro beach jam, conjuring images of neon and green palms. Percussionists Mike Greenfield and Chuck Morris are on point during the chill-out/lounge inspired portions, and adding beautiful depth consistently during the ten tracks.
Lotus’ latest LP Eats The Light delivers an eclectic mix of music genres draped over upon with the bands distinct sound. This variety is refreshing and new yet still maintains key elements of the groups past hits, both on albums and during live performances (which continue to be their staple). After a stop at Summerdance Festival in Ohio, Lotus will team up with their winter/spring 2016 tour cohorts of El Ten Eleven at Red Rocks on Saturday, September 17th. They will be joined by the renowned ambient-electronic stylings of Tycho.
For ticket information of Lotus’ upcoming tour click here.