Lotus Ship is a band we’ve been following for quite some time. After a 6 year hiatus, they returned at the beginning of this year with 6min long epic Digital Future. Not too long after, they followed this up with Stop the Show , another track taken straight out of the 70’s psychedelic scene. Seriously — every song sounds like they found it in a time capsule from the Woodstock era and popped it straight onto Spotify.
This month, they released the culmination of what these singles have been teasing; their debut album ‘Digital Future’. The album opens with the single of the very same name after an atmospheric intro, blending perfectly into those first few bass notes. Every time I listen to this track, it always feels like the very first time. The production is so nuanced and detailed; there’s so many elements and hidden gems that show themselves with each listen. Classic-rock style guitar opens Beautiful Disease, with an instrumental that keeps up with the energy and sonics of its previous track. Outside of the nostalgic, rich sounds of the music, one of the best parts of this group that make them unique, is the timbre of Mitchell Watterson’s voice, which really stands out on this track. His singing style is very much an epithet of the music the group references; he’s like the Gold Coast’s answer to the likes of Jimmy Page. The infectious guitar melody and heavy drum beat fade out, leading into Money Makin’ Scheme.
The production is still reminiscent of classic rock. Every song really retains that same feeling — as if the song’s are being played right in front of you. The production is seriously so on the ball, making you feel underdressed if you’re not in flares or leather. The lyrics always sit somewhere between describing things exactly as they are, while also dousing them in metaphor. “Form a civil circle around the billionaires, they have enough to share”. The song deconstructs capitalism and greed. Listening to it gives you the same level of chaotic feeling as the instrumentation. Hey, everything’s a little bullshit. But at least the music’s good.
The sound completely switches up with ballad Control. The electric guitar is isolated, played like an acoustic, with much simpler chords. The song has a much sadder tone than its previous tracks, yet still yields a beacon of hope; “They control you, if you let them”. This song is a standout on the album for me. Crying also switches things up a little, being the first piano-driven song. The melody is both simple yet complex, weaving in beautifully with Watterson’s vocals. Sexy Blues follows, possible the most laid-back, feel-good track on the record. The kind of cool, collected song you hear mid-set, your drinks are setting in and you’re feeling good.
Alone Again is another piano-driven track. Nostalgic of classic rock ballads, the piano mimics Watterson’s voice beautifully. Cymbal swells creep in, before the drums enter fully. Soft harmonies and slap-back delay surround his chorus vocals, giving them depth. Remember switches things up yet again, with heavily overdriven guitars, this track is more punk than anything else on the record. The drum beat is simple, yet assertive, driving the song forward. It all drops back as Watterson’s vocals are introduced;
“You said it once before, why don’t I recall? Well, I live amongst the catacombs, it’s where my body lies. I swear I’m sleeping all the time. Whilst my conscience says I’m fine. And then the devils tilts my shoulder. Then it’s fine, cos it couldn’t get much colder. I cannot remember, anything at all”
This song is the most traditionally psychedelic compared to the rest of the record, exploring pain, consciousness and a mental daze. It ends on a long, entrancing instrumental section, lead by the lead guitar melody.
Happier, major-key guitar opens Squishy. Exploring traditional masculinity, the song presents itself in a kind of tongue-in-cheek way. It reminds me of Queen’s ‘A Night of the Opera’ album in the sense that it is comical, groovy and completely aware of itself. It has the catchiest instrumental track of any song on the album.
My Nerve returns, with a similiar heavy guitar grunge sound, similar to Remember. A disembodied voice repeats the lines in the main vocal line, with a similiar tonality to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, (if Jackson was a little angrier when he sang it). Screams, unsettling laughter and sirens overlap with the instrumental in the songs bridge, adding to the ‘thriller’ elements of the track. “Yeah, we don’t want to do anything to scare your children, that’s the last thing we wanna do” says a sampled voice before the instrumentation amps up and the song comes to a close. “Ladies and gentlemen, step right up!” announces a voiceover as Stop the Show begins. With an album referencing so many musical greats with its style, sounds and tones, this track really is the perfect way to end the record — a homage to rock’s fallen heroes. The song reaches almost 8 minutes, but never really feels like it; the kind of song you could comfortably listen to forever.
To me, Lotus Ship are the unsung heroes of the Gold Coast — a group doing exactly the kind of music that Australia loves that hasn’t yet seen the recognition they deserve. So, if you haven’t heard it yet, please do yourself a favour and give ‘Digital Future’ a listen. With its liveliness and energy, it’s one of the closest things you’ll get to live music right now. So, what are you waiting for?
‘Digital Future’ is available now on all platforms.
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