Lost Under Heaven

Love Hates What You Become

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Lost Under Heaven's debut, 2016's Songs for Spiritual Lovers to Sing, was the sound of Manchester-bred singer/songwriter Ellery James Roberts and Dutch singer/songwriter/visual artist Ebony Hoorn having fallen in love and willfully drowned themselves in artful sonic euphoria. With their sophomore album, 2019's cathartic Love Hates What You Become, the couple rise to the crashing reality of living in the wake of that love and the realization that simply finding your soulmate doesn't fix your life, your emotional health, or the world around you. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer John Congleton and Swans drummer Thor Harris, Love Hates What You Become is a devastatingly affecting album, built deftly around the duo's yin and yang vocals with Roberts' tortured, throaty yawp coolly contrasted by Hoorn's flat, Marlene Dietrich-in-Doc Martens delivery. The songs are hugely anthemic in the punk tradition of Patti Smith and Nick Cave. Smartly, Congleton and LUH abandon the electronic flourishes of their debut in favor of a raw, largely analog guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards aesthetic that fits with their '80s influences. There's also a literate duality to many of the tracks as Roberts and Hoorn conversely eviscerate and elevate their relationship against a bleak post-millennial landscape. It's a sentiment that takes its most cohesive form on the title track, in which Roberts and Hoorn trade lines, playing out the viscera of desire and codependency that at first draws two people together, then threatens to rip them apart. When she sings "I thought you were the one to take my blues away," he replies "It's a passing tide, I'm not your enemy." It's a gorgeously bittersweet plea for an end to dysfunction and for treasuring the core connections that gives life meaning. They ambitiously expand on this concept throughout the album, turning their attention to ecology as well as to the rise of hateful ideologies ("Black Sun Rising"), male toxicity and domination ("Bunny's Blues"), and, finally, on the dynamic album closer "For the Wild," the heroic release of a damn good rock song, as Roberts laments "I am appalled by the sounds coming from the radio/ Has life tamed our soul?/ What happened to the rock and roll?" With Love Hates What You Become, Lost Under Heaven hit you in the heart right out of the gate, but then spend the rest of the album building you back up, hammering a crack into reality to let the light in. The album sticks with you even after coming to its crashing end. As Roberts sings on "Serenity Says," "The silence amplifies our love."

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