Nah Nah Nah, Yeh Yeh Yeh by Luminous Bodies

Release date: February 7, 2020
Label: Box Records

Since moving to London around four years ago, I don’t think there’s been any band quite as ubiquitous as Luminous Bodies. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them but, I’m still wanting more. Watching them live feels like being trapped in a stampede of instruments, trampled under the sheer brutality of the band’s playing style; its equal parts tar pit sludge and head-bludgeoning percussion.

The ringleader of the group Gordon Watson, originally struck me as a kind of unfrozen neanderthal screaming and throwing bewildering gestures as he treated his guitar like a rabbit skinned with his bare hands. His vocal styles and stage manor are utterly singular and are a fit headpiece to such a wild bunch of characters that act as both pioneers and up-and-comers of the London psyche scene. The band features current and former members of bands like Terminal Cheesecake, We Wild Blood, Part Chimp and Gum Takes Tooth.

If you follow this scene, you’ve probably either stood next to them at a gig or watched them play a gig. Finally, after so long in the whirlwind, I am so excited to have Luminous Bodies’ music beamed directly into my brain with full clarity with their new album Nah Nah Nah, Yeh Yeh Yeh and as always a lot of credit has to go to Wayne Adam of Bear Bites Horse Studio for providing what is absolutely the best representation of the band I’ve heard so far. It’s an album that highlights every facet of the band in clarity and space, I think that with this sophomore LP, I finally might be able to work out what the fuck is going on with this beautiful noise.

From the offset, ’Sykes’ reminds me of ‘Iron Gland’ by Alice in Chains and then, suddenly pivots to reminding ‘Blew’ by Nirvana, heavy grunge vibes, (perhaps as a result of a shared fandom of Butthole Surfers) dipping into the psychedelic with some effects play. It’s especially interesting being able to clearly hear not only Gordon’s vocal melodies but, occasionally his lyrics as well. I’ve always experienced Luminous Bodies as a kind of arresting cacophony that you can’t pick apart or divert your eyes from but, there’s actually songs going on under all of that and they’re pretty fucking good too.

‘Hey! You!’ is absolutely fucking bat shit, the sudden instrumental assaults act as an immense wordless chorus, seemingly designed as a sure fire mosh pit starter. Absolutely fucking nuts, I love it. ‘Choices’ has an absolutely relentless rhythm section, Tracey Bellaries’ bass sounds so fat in it, the drums are just heavy as fuck, this track is probably the most likely to get played on the radio, only for the fact that it seems to have the most easily accessible chorus.

The middle of the albums twists the listeners brain a bit with what sounds like some heavily processed reversed talking on ‘I’m Not Leaving’, a song which apparently is one massive fuck you to Brexit from the band’s part-drummer, part-human chaos/I guess back-person Luca ‘Zoo’ Franzoni (1) which carries on the odyssey into the start of probably my favourite song on the album entitled ‘Fuck The Beatles’. I’m from Merseyside where The Beatles eclipse reality and the avant garde is often dismissed by the close-minded for four dudes who made pop music decades ago espousing half-assed hippy rhetoric whilst in reality, being narcissistic, close-minded, pretentious, money-hungry bigots. Also, I find ‘Yellow Submarine’ to be probably the most maddeningly asinine song ever written but, I digress. I have so much love for the ending refrain of this song “put me on the guest-list and I’ll get you high” – it’s basically a prayer I say before attempting to go to any gig at this point of post-Brexit Tory austerity.

‘I Wish I Had A Window’ is one of my favourites on the album, it’s fucking gnarly, the start doesn’t sound anything like Luminous Bodies to me, it’s like having a grotesque K Hole whilst listening to The Body, I’d love to hear the band do a full album in this style, it’s so lysergically industrial, I love it. The final track on the album is ‘Gut Reaction’, this has to be favourite song on the record. It’s so fucking iconic. It’s so sinister and slow burning, it’s the sort of track that you bang your head to it as soon as it starts. Every single band member sounds like they’re fucking turning it out. It’s exactly the sort of music I imagine will soundtrack my journey into the underworld. Sinister, unravelling guitars, unsettling pulses from the bass, anvil cracking drums and the timeless man, Gordon Watson unravelling his voices around the listener like a swarm of spiders spinning endless webs.

Upon re-listening to the album, I kind of feel like the first five tracks are basically preparing the listener for how astoundingly malevolent and gargantuan the final three tracks are. There’s definitely phases involved in the journey that enable you to traverse the three acts as one epic journey and I think there’s a lot to be said for the structuring and production; for what I have often regarded as a predominantly live band, I dare say they’re even more formidable on this record because you can hear exactly what they’re beating you around the skull with. Although, it really feels a lot more muddy gig-like without consequence than more or less any other album I can think of and features a lot of moments that kind of remind me of the many, many bands that the band is associated with in one way or another and it really makes it feel like a necessary experience for those people who really love live music and the culture that surrounds it.

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