The musical hotbed that is Glasgow continues to churn out high quality music. Just when you think the well must surely be dry another spring appears. And if that’s not enough awkward mixed metaphors for you I don’t know what is. January saw Lost Map release the debut album by Sulka, aka singer songwriter Lukas Clasen.
This somehow slipped past us, but better late than never! Citing influences from the indie rock cannon such as Cloud Nothings, The Cribs, Dinosaur Jr and Elliott Smith, there’s certainly a nostalgic feel to Clasen’s sound.
There’s a subtle playfulness displayed throughout ‘Take Care’. The dream pop of “Fear It” is like a cleaner, more polished, and happier Dinosaur Jr in structure. The Elliott Smith-isms certainly play their part too, particularly in the sombre “Hollow Days” and the fiddly structure of “Punctured”. Clasen’s vocal, at moments could even be mistaken for Smith.
Clasen shows a good sense of when to break things up, with short instrumentals like “Sleep Cycle” and the imaginatively titled “Instrumental 2”.
He knows when to mix things up but always retains certain sensibilities that knit things together. “Porch” sways and fidgets delightfully like Sam Prekop while the gentle “You and I” does away with percussion altogether. This allows ample breathing space for the fast paced lo-fi scuzz of the punky “Chasing”.
“Fell Out Of A Sky” is an airy, melodically beautiful dream pop song with gorgeously bendy sections that culminates in a crunchy climax before winding down. The skiffle rhythm and lovely melody of “Big Divide” sit it somewhere between ‘Sea Change’ era Beck and, once again, Elliott Smith.
The influence is absolutely undeniable.
Closer “It’s All Over’ provides surprising clarity. The chunky guitars and crashing drums serve to jolt the listener awake before it all uncharacteristically collapses over itself at the end.
“Take Care”, whilst wearing its influences firmly on its sleeve, showcases Sulka as a serious songwriting talent. The playful touches and undeniable melodic sensibilities on display suggest that if he lets himself go wild Clasen could create something truly amazing.
You may enjoy this if you like:
Elliott Smith, Pictish Trail, Sam Prekop, Real Estate, Beck