Album Review: "Gostraks" (2022) by Lunear
After the highly successful and authentic sophomore effort Curve.Axis.Symmetry(2020), Lunear comes back with a better junior LP that showcases their new interests and the new direction that they’ve taken, while maintaining their signature sound. 2022’s cover album Gostraks has a similar sound to the album’s cover and name, which is much more abstract, experimental, and industrial. The first thing that catches the listener’s attention is the album's acapella opener, which provides beautiful vocal harmonies by arranging. Genesis’ Turn It On Again. From the first song, the tone was set to be much more ethereal and hopeful compared to their previous LP.
Although the synths and atmospheric approach are a major part of their trademark, the combinations and flow of the album are so different. The introduction of electronic percussions with more keyboards is reminiscent of the retro influences like Tangerine Dream or Depeche Mode, yet the execution is much more Floydian and captivating. Gostraks’s focus is on the bandmates’ childhood and youth influences, maybe at some points heroes. Along with their progressive approach, the songs they arranged and covered range from the progressive spectrum of Genesis, Bowie, and Marillion to the unexpected pop of Britney Spears, the one-hit star Tasmin Archer, Lana Del Rey, and synth-based groups like Depeche Mode, Talk Talk along with the UK rock bands Stiltskin and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Although the genres vary, the album’s conceptual and musical interconnectedness is well considered, and the transitions between songs just show the experience of the album making and putting together an album rather than just covering songs.
They were able to get all these songs on the same page and focus on the common element of these songs: which is the nostalgia of their young memories and also the nostalgic atmosphere of 80-90s. At many points, the album possesses the 80s feels of joyful yet melancholic keyboard and vocal works of Supertramp, nostalgic to put more accurately, taking the songs away from their original roots and putting the progressive Lunear sound on them. Although at some points we felt like the band's vocals(Jean Philippe Benadjer was singing on Warriors, Perfume and Renee; Sebastien Bournier sings on Turn It On Again (except the intro part which is harmonized by them all), Inside and Venice Bitch; and lead vocalist Paul J.No sings on Modern Love, Sleeping Satellite, Shake the disease and This is the 21st Century) could be more into the song and more powerful rather than standing out in the mix and in some ways sounded “similar”, each song had a different approach in itself and the executions were always highly thoughtful and elegant. Some chef’s kiss moments like the honky-tonky chorus of Bowie’s Modern Love, the atmosphere of Tasmine Archer’s Sleeping Satelite, and the effect-driven riff of Britney Spear’s Perfume in some ways exceed what the original songs were able to achieve.
The atmospheric guitar work of Jean Philippe fits just perfectly with the sound of Lunear. His work in this album felt like it came out of SW’s The Raven That Refused to Sing, and the drums of Sebastien Bournier take the song to extra dimensions that cannot be achieved without this much of a contribution from the percussions. A must for the lovers of 70s, modern, and art rock that dives into the ethereal.