Acoustic strums, beautiful vocal harmonies, pianos, keyboards, and swelling ambient noise- not the kind of music one might assume would come from a band made up of veteran punk musicians, on a veteran punk record label. This is just the next step in the journey of Northern Virginia’s Pygmy Lush, one that has been marked by redefinition and rebirth.
The sound of this record is one that’s come only with age and experience, after thousands of miles have been logged in cramped touring vans. They’re following a path that many punks seem to follow as the years go on; The need for quiet, the need for space, for reflection and introspection, but the same amount of need for honesty, passion and expression. These feelings get put into something tangible in an old farmhouse near a far out Washington D.C. suburb, where Pygmy Lush live, write and practice, tucked away .They’ve tried to carve out a niche of solace in the middle of endless sameness, a place where they can stand.
A lot of the songs are about friendships and connection, unsurprisingly. The things that bind us together through the years, and the things that split us apart. On the title track, vocalist Chris Taylor makes a declaration to his community. “I’ll make a promise to all my friends/I’ll never leave this world without you...the end isn’t distance/it’s just a place to stay.” What is life when you’ve found your world, your purpose for it all? What is left? Anyone with two eyes and a brain might love reading through the lyric sheet for Taylor’s humorous and heartbreaking honesty. “Chewing on trash, fluorescent blues/Don’t eat the food/Don’t even move.”
A couple of new members help to seal the deal on Old Friends. Aimee Argote of Des Ark; friend, tourmate, labelmate, and now honorary member, contributes vocals to over half the tracks, and some piano as well. You might have seen new drummer Eric Kane over the years, serving up a fast paced soundtrack to stagediving and high fiving for Richmond punk act Strike Anywhere.
All these elements combine to make a somber and introspective piece of music that defies any genre labels. Pygmy Lush are the kind of band that bring people together, leaving any room unspeakably silent after they play. Keep this one around for being inside, when it eventually starts getting chilly again, or even when the unbearable heat of summer sends you seeking refuge indoors. You’re gonna need it.
Old Friends was recorded and mixed in just 4 days by Kurt Ballou in Salem, MA. The band will be touring most of 2011 in support of the record.