Release Date: May 6, 2016
Record label: Mute
WU LYF is dead. Long live LUH. Such dramatic proclamation feels entirely fitting where the new joint venture from Ellery James Roberts, he of distinct and tricky timbre, is concerned. Cast your minds back to January 2012 as Roberts and his previously enigmatic charges tackle their biggest mainstream moment in the sun, entering an at turns scabrous and spirited performance of the brilliant ‘Heavy Pop’ on Late Night with David Letterman.
Ellery James Roberts has a hard time to escaping his previous life as frontman of WU LYF. The Manchester four-piece blew minds with their debut album Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, before imploding. It was a masterpiece of atmospheric, fist-pumping anthems, but what stood out most was Ellery's voice, a gravelly and passionate growl, a voice that was completely distinctive.
I was recently trying to describe LUH's excellent debut album, Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing, to a coworker, and he asked what kind of music the band plays. Even after several listens, I was a little baffled: "Rock, sort of... but with mostly electronic instrumentation? I think?".
Ellery Roberts’ former band Wu Lyf were accomplished hype machinators, generating industry appetite for their guitar rock by turning novelty tricks like advertising demo tapes of their guitar rock for £50 on Myspace. Roberts’ new outfit is seemingly uninterested in such hijinks – but that’s also the sell. Created with his Dutch artist-girlfriend Ebony Hoorn, LUH is billed as the pair’s passion project, and there’s a thread of fevered, vaguely political idealism that runs through the album.
Lost Under Heaven, or LUH, the band of former WU LYF singer Ellery James Roberts and his partner Ebony Hoorn, is not one for metered expectations or weary resignation. Their debut record, Spiritual Songs for Lovers To Sing, contains an hour of immense meditations on the nature of love, life, and self-determination, dramatic anthems for dissatisfied youth hoping to dismantle capitalism and take on the world. The howl that made Roberts’ former band so memorable is matched here with a similar sense of grandeur by ornate production and intricate instrumentation, adding cellos, violins, trumpets, and other brass to accentuate these massive songs.
British band WU LYF began their brief career in anonymity and burned out in a press storm. Frontman Ellery Roberts, then 21, was the architect of their spectacular demise: "WU LYF is dead to me," he declared in an open letter to his bandmates, complaining that their acclaimed debut, a kind of protest album for the disenchanted, had got his revolutionary energy all messed up. "The sincerity of ‘Go tell fire’ was lost in the bull shit of maintaining face in the world we live," he wrote.
Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing, the debut album from English-Dutch duo LUH (an acronym for "lost under heaven"), is the sonic consummation of both art and love between ex-WU LYF vocalist Ellery James Roberts and artist Ebony Hoorn. Their union informs the entirety of the 12-song cycle, melding extremes against a soundtrack of textured atmospherics, clashing vocal deliveries, and an ominous intensity. Even in (relatively) calmer moments, like "Here Our Moment Ends" and "Lament," LUH deliver with such earnestness that it's hard to relax.
“If you’re not ready, forget it/ lay down and fall back to sleep,” Ellery James Roberts barks on I&I, a call to arms akin to Arcade Fire’s Rebellion. Indeed, if you’re not ready for the intensity of Roberts’ delivery – a burning husk of equal parts aggression and desperation – then this record will be a hard sell. Roberts’ former band WU LYF dealt in clear, ringing guitar lines and fierce, tribal drumming with cathedral-sized helpings of reverb as a counterpoint.
The scope of LUH’s debut, ‘Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing’, is staggering. Inspired by grand ideas from the collapse of capitalism to the notion of post-humanist singularity, the duo of Ellery Roberts and Ebony Hoorn bring the nature of humanity into question. The record’s heart, though, is touchingly simple - two people standing up against the world.
With Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing, the two-piece LUH. - comprised of Ebony Hoorn and Ellery James Roberts - have created a beautiful and graceful behemoth. The record, undeniably, sounds colossal. Its sonic size, musculature and power are evident from the very onset. Drums drenched in reverb ….
by Raj Dayal About five years ago, the Manchester band WU LYF (World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) set the music world ablaze with overwhelming hype and unbridled arrogance. They mostly delivered on the promise with Go Tell Fire to the Mountain. Frontman Ellery Roberts howled angrily announcing a band positioned for a movement. Sadly, that movement began and ended with the band’s only album.