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What happened to the leader of WU LYF ?

 

Former leader of the band WU LYF, Ellery Roberts is making a come-back under the name of LUH. He’s releasing a new flamboyant album entitled Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing. A journey from the shadows into the light...

 

 

 

 

It was a breaker, a shockwave as brutal as it was fleeting. In 2010 the world was thrilled by the furious, hallucinating and mysterious anthems of the band WU LYF. In 2011 the English collective from Manchester unveiled a magnificent rock album, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain. Its members weren’t all adults, and yet they succeeded in imposing their anti-system attitude and independence on the music industry. In 2012 the singer Ellery Roberts, with his charismatic and fragile beauty, ended the adventure to everyone’s great surprise. The musical lightning strike had finished. The myth could now blossom on clichés: the damned genius and the premature demise. But Ellery Roberts hasn’t finished thwarting expectations yet.

 

Now the young man is orchestrating his return as a couple under the shorter name of LUH [Lost under Heaven]. Accompanied by Dutch singer Ebony Hoorn, he delivers a primary and flamboyant album that’s both chaotic and dazzling. Saved more by an alter ego than a love interest, he’s found the energy to re-engage in a new creative dialogue and above all find a release for his insurgent music. During a trip to Paris he explained, “I’ve managed, thanks to Ebony to get out of the dark circle I was trapped in. I’ve slowly abandoned the sadness and the rage.”

Ebony Hoorn.

 

The album, Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing revives the sacred stadium music of WU LYF, this fiery tormented rock, burning alive. The rage is taken on by the flayed voice of Ellery, with Ebony Hoorn’s female vocals creating a counterpoint. The furious incantations resonate on melodies written with magma, like bombs dropped in the midst of an erupting volcano. This passion for life rediscovered through meeting Ebony Hoorn at a squat in Manchester, thankfully hasn’t made Ellery Roberts a rebel without a cause. Now living in Amsterdam, the musician has lost none of his naïve teenage vision, lucid on a world plagued with his fears.

 

Ellery Roberts confronts contemporary demons, both his and ours: cynicism, egoism, solitude… “We’ve explored very personal emotions,” the couple explain, “Our new found confidence allows us to touch a very intimate truth, without fearing vulnerability. Then we worked on making these feelings universal by attaching them to experiences we all go through. That’s what art had always been about.” The musical inventiveness is never sacrificed for the words, political or poetic. The highlight of the album is the track $oro attacking greed and money, proffering a music in perpetual evolution, multiplying the experiments. “This fluidity is what makes the music beautiful”, adds Ebony Hoorn.

The album gradually forsakes darkness for light and hope. Ellery Roberts continues to pursue his grief – that of his experience within WU LYF as well as his teenage years. “Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing is an initiatory album. The greedy characters that inhabit it shed their materialistic perspective in order to move towards a more positive ambition: self-realisation and opening out towards the world and others.” In conclusion the English musician calls for a new beginning: ‘I have faith in us all. So have faith in the truth. Start today.” Advice that should be listened to, and followed.

 

The album’s artwork (above) like every aspect of LUH’s visual identity was created by Ebony Hoorn, a graduate of the audio-visual department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. She also made the images used in the videos.

 

 

Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing by LUH (Mute/Pias), Released on May 6th.

Ebony Hoorn

 

By Thibaut Wychowanok

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