Today, enigmatic Bristol six-piece Lazarus Kane have shared a new single titled “Williston, ND”. The track follows their recently announced return with whip smart post-pop single “Milk At My Door”, which gave a first taste of their highly anticipated debut EP “Psychobabble” – out 10th September via So Young’s brand new label imprint (Folly Group, Lime Garden).
On “Williston, ND”, the band continue their sonic and thematic evolution, delving into more stark and direct instrumentation which sees them drawing on darker and more biting leftfield influences. Though their music continues to morph and challenge expectations, none of this comes at the expense of thrilling songwriting, which continues to tap into the band’s irresistible new-wave eccentricity and groove-driven riffing.
Speaking on the single, frontman Ben Jakes says: “I wrote this track after reading about this town in the USA. It used to be a very small town but has become the centre of a huge oil boom. I don’t really know why it interested me so much, I think I was trying to capture the pictures of the fracking equipment at night lit by neon lights on these sprawling prairies. It reminded me of ‘There Will Be Blood’ as well, but obviously in a modern setting.”
It’s often hard with Lazarus Kane to know where the line between sincerity and irony truly lies. They’ve been called everything from high-concept performance art to disco provocateurs, but it is perhaps this sense of uneasy mystery that sets them apart. In an industry often plagued by a dour self-seriousness surrounding art and the creative process, Lazarus Kane emerged as a breath of fresh air in 2019 with their Speedy Wunderground single ‘Narcissus’, a strutting, rhythmic exploration into the superficiality of modern life. They followed this up with the inescapable strut of ‘Night Walking’ in 2020, further blurring the expectations of what a band could, or should, do.
So where now in 2021, with the world on pause? For Ben Jakes, FKA as the eponymous Lazarus Kane, the answer was simple. Rip everything up and start again.
“It felt disingenuous to continue the character with the current state of the world” he says. “Instead, I wanted to really hold a mirror to the often darkly comedic and surreal ways in which we deal with difficult situations, especially within our often extremely comfortable, materially focused and self-absorbed lives”.
The result is “Psychobabble”, a wonderfully jarring collection of songs that continue to defy any kind of genre. Taking cues from early Brian Eno, no wave, 80’s hardcore and experimental electronic music, such as Biosphere and Cluster, the songs weave and transform in front of the listener with little to no indication of where they might go next, all whilst maintaining Jakes’ surreal sense of humour.