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Album Review

LUNIC
Lovethief

AAARRRGGGHHH! Lunic just drove a stake through my heart! A lineup change has separated Kaitee Page and Kari Bethke and life will never be the same. I mean, there just aren't enough electric violins in the world, so when a rock band comes along with not one but two violinists, both female no less, you have to take note. I know what you're thinking. There are plenty of female violinists out there, and you're right, but there aren't very many female rock violinists playing electric violins, or if there are they are showing great stealth.

Electric violins are a wonderful instrument. David LaFlamme introduced myself and most of the rock world to it on the first It's a Beautiful Day album (there may have been other players, but he was the one who caught the public spotlight), and later I stumbled upon Simon House, the spooky weaver of creative insanity with High Tide, and Mik Kaminski, whose work with Joe Soap impressed and pre-dated an attachment to Electric Light Orchestra, as well as Joe O'Donnell, whose violin took Headstone into another realm. Here and there the instrument makes a mark, but it is never enough for people like myself, so when Paige and Bethke teamed up on Lovethief, I was all ears.

From the first violinic eruption, I was hooked! Lunic lays out a solid rock base, rhythms at times doled out in chunks and at others spread like creamy peanut butter (a fair analogy, considering how the music sticks to the roof of my head). When Page and Bethke are not working their magic on violins, Page creates portraits and moodscapes with a voice which on its own might not be earthshaking but with the band is spot on. From the hauntingly familiar-but-elusive strains of The Dark House to the new wave/punkish Masquerade and on to the frantic Simon House-sounding-violin run on Thieves (and Paige's simple “Here we go...” push), Lunic pushes the right buttons at the right time.

It grows on you. First time through it sounds good, but with each successive listen you get sucked into Page and band's underground world until you begin to wonder whether Lunic is derived from lunar and magic or lunar and manic, for there are wisps of both. Give it ten listens and you are beyond caring. The music simply becomes part of your psyche.

Lunic, by the way, are part of the phoenix growing from the ashes of the once mighty music industry. While most of the music world still believe that major labels are the music industry (thanks to the media's staunch ostrich stance), Lunic and others (let us call them the long tail of the dog) have taken their future into their own hands through an organization known as Sellaband. Through it, they gathered funds from 542 supporters to finance the album, a simple though exhausting (for the band) process of capitalization. Benji Rogers of Marwood has set up a similar organization (Pledge Music), certain that the future of music can finally be in the hands of the people who care the most--- the artists and their fans--- and others will follow.

Lunic won't get rich following the path they are on, not in terms of what most people believe musicians receive, but they won't starve either. Gigs are aplenty and the band, in its present lineup, is working their asses off. With luck, they will in the future hand us primo albums like Lovethief, one in a hopefully long string of such projects. Like Kaitee Page says when the violin starts its run, “here we go...”

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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