Adding their name to the flurry of eccentric guitar bands coming out of the UK right now is the enigmatic Lazarus Kane. They first garnered attention with their debut release on Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label “Narcissus” in 2019. Now, they’re unveiling the most comprehensive insight into their musical psyche yet with their debut EP, Psychobabble. It’s great fun, but is also their strongest, most hook-laden work to date.
Where the band’s earlier material reveled in the peripheries of slightly idiosyncratic disco funk, Psychobabble sees Lazarus Kane turn over a new leaf. “It felt disingenuous to continue the character with the current state of the world,” says frontman Ben Jakes in a statement. “Instead, I wanted to really hold a mirror to the often darkly comedic and surreal ways in which we deal with difficult situations, especially within our often extremely comfortable, materially focused and self-absorbed lives.”
“Milk at My Door,” the EP opener, is a colorful collision of new-wave eccentricity. Chained to an irresistible vocal hook about a “next episode,” Talking Heads-style guitars provide the danceable backbeat to the fun and funky track. This energy continues into “Whole Foods,” which laughs with satirical nods to the mundanity of supermarket shopping before delving into altogether weirder realms: “Hazmat suit / On your jogging route / Inconvenience / Welcome to my masterplan.” Beyond the track’s second chorus is where you’ll find the musical interpretation of a Psychobabble; ominous strings and glitchy sounds form to create an impending crescendo of doom, which thankfully fizzles out into track three, “Williston.”
The rawness to this portion of the four-slice EP is infectious. Seeping with grit and attitude, it makes for an edgier contrast to the EP’s preceding tracks with its incessant guitars and monotonous vocals, which bear eery resonances of The Clash’s Joe Strummer at times. It carries a classic post-punk feel that’s modernized with screechy vocals and later synth lines, which add a spacey, almost club-like dynamic to this, the EP’s most noteworthy offering. “MPS” rounds of Psychobabble with catchy guitar hooks and a return to the poppy aura that coats the first half of the EP. Lyrically, the track ironically melds essences of hope (“The future’s looking bright / And time is on my side”) with hopelessness (“Everybody’s coming up to the big time / They’re gonna leave you behind”). Its overall message is a little more difficult to decipher, but there’s conviction in the delivery nonetheless.
Psychobabble is a fruity character of an EP. You don’t know where it’s going to turn to next — which makes it exciting. It rejuvenates the more serious side of music with its unabashed ethos, delivering a sound that’s modern, quirky, and fun. One can only wonder what the band’s live sets must be like.