Hong Kong shoegazers Lucid Express have signed to Brooklyn label Kanine Records, and released their new single “Wellwave” – a fuzzed out piece of dream pop that sounds like 2000s nostalgia captured on a VHS home video.
Lucid Express formed as teenagers in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement in 2014, the latest in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state suppression in Hong Kong. Amidst that violence, the band met in a rented practice space in the industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood to make something that lived outside of their reality. The result is the wondrous colorful world of their music. The band’s name is thus a kind of mission statement – the Lucid Express takes listeners on a journey through their world.
On “Wellwave,” the trip is rendered in glittering guitars, waves of synth fuzz, and playful drum fills. The band members are children of the early 2000s, and for me the track sounds like nostalgia for that era – the sonic equivalent of pre-HD home videos, the soundtrack to your first MySpace. The back half of the song is one endless, hypotonic dream of glittering noise, a montage of half forgotten memories saturated by VHS dust. The aesthetic is captured beautifully by the song’s accompanying music video, shot on Tai Mo Shan, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong. There’s also a real, defiant confidence in the song as vocalist Kim sings “We’ll wave today, for you, we’ll disobey for sure.” You can’t help but buy into that confidence, and imagine yourself trolling through downtown with your ipod Nano turned all the way up.
The end of the song kind of falls apart. The groove stumbling to a halt, feedback left buzzing out of the guitars. It’s the abrupt, sputtering reentry of reality when an old video fails to render, or the weird blurred moment at the end of a dream where you’re not sure if you’re waking up or falling asleep. It’s the sound left after you take out your headphones and find yourself back 20 years in the future, everything a bit too sharp and gray to touch.
Lucid Express will release their self-titled debut on July 16. Watch the “Wellwave” and support the band via Bandcamp below.