Lunar Hand, from Southern California, might be just out of high school, but the garage psych trio nonetheless demonstrate a musical maturity that others twice their age could only dream of. Their debut EP, ‘Magic Hour’, is out tomorrow, 15 September.
Band founder Junior Reed started writing at the age of 15, which coincided with his father’s first foray into recording music. Junior says,
“He had just set up some recording gear so it was good timing. I’d give him material and he was eager to record and experiment with it.”
His father’s Northern San Diego-based studio was a great place to hash out songs, and soon Junior found musical kindred spirits Derulo Boulet (bass) and Christian Ruth on drums, both of whom played with him in their high school jazz band. Together they formed the trio Voltage Control, playing locally with their blend of streamlined amped up rock mixed with vintage pop.
Touring up and down the West Coast, they returned to the studio to record their debut album, and although they remained a cohesive unit, they felt their influences had expanded. Junior therefore decided a new name was required, one which showcased their new sound, which included more melodic psych elements. Their five track EP, ‘Magic Hour’, is guitar heavy, with opening track ‘Desert Road’ reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. Second track, ‘Sand Song’ on the other hand, could be by The Doors, with its strong basslines and gravelly vocals. There are clips from old TV and radio shows, denoting the end/beginning of songs, most notably around songs two and three. ‘Smoke And Chandeliers’ makes good use of vocal harmonies and encorporates a nearly “doo-wop” sound.
By the time you get to track four, ‘Won’t You Come Along’, you forget the youth of the band members, and feel as though it’s something that’s been released by a much more experienced band. There’s a lot to be said for artists to hone their chops by touring: with no distractions apart from their music the sound is solidified and strengthened. Final track, ’12th Ave Fright’, is strong, fierce, and has a melancholy feel which nonetheless is very appealing with its catchy hooks, and Junior Reed’s full vocals.