In a lot of ways 2010 was all about the sophomore release. Between Titus Andronicus, The Menzingers, Such Gold, and so many others, we had more than enough follow-ups to look forward to. Of course, we’re no longer in 2010, and we now have an entire year of bands to discover, and releases to anticipate. 2011 marks not only Lemuria’s sophomore release, Pebble, but also their debut release for Bridge 9 Records.
Lemuria’s debut full length, Get Better came out in 2008, and it seems as if they’ve been supporting it constantly ever since. It no surprise then, that even though Pebble is all of 33 minutes over 11 songs, the band took their time to make it exactly way they wanted it. Which makes sense, as sitting atop the Bridge 9 Records roster puts the band in a sightline unmatched by any of their efforts thus far. That being said, Pebble is no more or no less accessible than Get Better, it’s a perfect example of a band who knows their formula, and rather than challenge it, they take their time to improve.
The main difference between the two records is the production values. The band brought in J. Robbins for production, a man who is known internationally for his articulate and keen vision of sound. While the band has often been compared to the likes of The Weakerthans and Death Cab For Cutie, I’ve always aligned them with a Superchunk influence. My suspicions were confirmed in September when both Sheena and Alex cited Superchunk’s Magestry Shredding as the best record of the year, prior to even hearing it. J. Robbins furthered this influence, as Pebble sounds like a long lost Superchunk record, in all of the most endearing ways.
The bands signature shared vocal duties have taken a step back, rather choosing to let either vocalist, Sheena and Alex, carry songs on their own accord. It’s not until the fourth track in, Yellowstone Lady, in which we get a chorus held up by both. This change is more than refreshing; it’s a little hard to escape the cliché of two vocalists versing in call and response. Pebble allows both Alex and Sheena to contribute their own talent to their individual songs, rather than letting them all blend into one.