Cosmic Debt

by Lubec

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    Side A: Tracks 1-6
    Side B: Tracks 7-12

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about

Now available in cassette and digital formats courtesy of Disposable America Records -
disposableamerica.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-debt

"The first time I saw Portland band Lubec play live, in a ground floor rec room in a weirdly suburban punk house on a muddy hill in Seattle, I was surprised to see only three members in the band — Caroline Jackson on keyboards and vocals, Eddie Charlton on guitar and vocals, and Matt Dressen on drums. It hadn’t even occurred to me to wonder or even care about how they make their enveloping sound; I just knew that, when I put on their latest album, Cosmic Debt, a gorgeous maelstrom comes from my speakers, evoking a sweeping grandeur and an intense intimacy at the same time.

Listening more closely reveals what makes their sound so special. Throughout Cosmic Debt, the instruments are more or less equal in the left and right channels — it’s not a mono mix like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, but the low degree of channel separation means that Jackson’s piano, treated with distortion and echo, and Charlton’s ringing guitar blend together so that it’s not always immediately apparent which tones are coming from which instrument. Dressen’s playing, while stick-shattering in a live setting, mixes with all of the instruments and contributes equally to the songs’ percussive drive and sometimes lurching and stuttering rhythms. Engineer and producer Dylan Wall has, with the band, created a sound which is somehow simultaneously loud and hushed. The album’s dreamy, insomniac feel is enhanced by interstitial tracks that feature loops, drones, and ambient sounds.

Charlton and Jackson’s echo-drenched vocals combine and separate into harmonies, melody and countermelody, and call-and-response. There’s urgency not just in the shouted declarations and imperatives (exclamation points appear frequently in the lyrics) but in the quieter moments as well. Lyrically, Cosmic Debt deals in metaphors, phrased obliquely enough to be interesting, but it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on in songs like “Clipped Wings” and “Queen of Cups.” Loss and regret are recurrent themes. “Cracks in the Veneer” expresses the anxiety of facing a loved one’s mortality as “Grey strands appear… I’m facing the subtlety of your doom.” A television metaphor portrays the ambivalence of an aborted friendship in “Failed Pilot,” where there’s “No plot device to end / Why did I think the crowd would see a hit?” “Breakup Haircut” — well, that one’s pretty self-explanatory. The soaring final song’s titular “Ember” is “Both spark and cinder!” to immolate the past and illuminate the present, while the song’s — and album’s — great beauty is the phoenix that rises from the ashes."

- Mike Baehr

credits

released September 30, 2016

Caroline Jackson - Keyboard, Vocals, Electronics
Matt Dressen - Drums, Vocals, Samples, Electronics
Eddie Charlton - Guitar, Vocals, Electronics

Engineered and produced by Dylan Wall at The Map Room in Portland, OR and Tastefully Loud in Seattle, WA. Mastered by Chris Hanzsek.

Artwork by Matt Dressen

"Nothing is enough!"

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Lubec Portland, Oregon

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Track Name: Clipped Wings
Blood feathers flake
So you can't leave the garden
Pinion joints break
Never out of bounds with

Clipped wings!

The weather's great
But you can never stop molting
Dominion so fake
Can't escape the hounds with

Clipped wings!

It's all a cruel joke to me
What's worse is I'm okay with

Clipped wings!
Track Name: Cracks in the Veneer
Just stop!
Fey lines appear
Cracks in the veneer

Just stop!
Grey strands I fear
Cracks in the veneer

Strange pacing
In the recovery room
I'm facing
The subtlety of your doom
We'd go out
It always felt so young and new
In absentia
I'll lie to remain

Heart's racing
Never get to see the moon
Just chasing
Vacation for a week in June
We'd go out
It always felt so young and new
In absentia
I'll lie to remain

Where does it hang?
That painting
Where does it hang?
I've got to believe
Track Name: Failed Pilot
Cameo!

I don't care
I don't care
I care
CARE

About the contrast, depth and every color
About the pixel, rate and every flutter

I don't mind
I don't mind
I mind
MIND

The scenes that we left out

I don't dare
I don't dare
I dare
DARE

Watch us part our ways as brothers
Watch us forget the city's wonders

I don't find
I don't find
I'll find
FIND

What our show was all about

But that's not right!
Lied so long!
The screen's too bright!
Airing our failed pilot

No arc that will ascend
It was just a battle of our wits
No plot device to end
Why did I think the crowd would see a hit?

In our failed pilot

It's just a cameo!
Track Name: Hard Potential
Hard potential
That negates
What's essential
In a life

I didn't ask for the time
I didn't wait for a polite okay
You could feel it at night
And we can say
We didn't flake

I saw the moment just fine
A window of truth and naivete
With history on the mind
And we can say
We didn't flake

Of course
Not
Of course
Not

So much potential!
Track Name: Cosmic Debt
Holding hands
In the throes
Of promises
Why did we look away?

I feel my cosmic debt!
Don't know what it is!

Blue lights tail
Feeling slow
The cop comes near
What did our eyes just say?

Cosmic debt!
Track Name: Queen of Cups
She shuffled
But never asked me
If I'd really want
To try that game

Dealt a hand
That was so carefree
Thinking they would never
Guess we'd played

I saw your face but you did not show it
There's more ways to cheat and frame
I saw your face and when my turn hit

I drew a card!
You drew a card!
We drew a card!

Queen of cups
Track Name: Breakup Haircut
Another breakup haircut!

(Insert yr own frustrations)

It's time that I should go
For yet

In with the new
Out with the old
Whatever feels real
Until it grows
Track Name: Ember
Ember
Hot coal
Heat what
I Froze

I thought it wouldn't matter
How our time was worn
But really does a clock tick?
In the hit of a drum's kick?
We joked it was a picnic
I thought it wouldn't matter

I thought it wouldn't matter
The things that we had sworn
But really do the words stick?
In the strum of a guitar pick?
You're worried that I'm homesick
I thought it wouldn't matter

Both spark and cinder!

It doesn’t matter
Never mattered
We remember
That November
Seasons gather
By the ember

It fills the room

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