The final record in Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys series of tapes is a love story of 10 songs that are intimate, poetic, beautiful, at moments compellingly carnal and always teeming with the starkest of feelings.
Titled Teen Tapes (for performing your own stunts) the album releases today, April 8th via Unique Records, it is the follow up to the band’s previous records, Transit Tapes (for women who move furniture around) and Sleeping Tapes for Some Girls.
The album was workshopped and recorded in Berlin with Liú Mottes, Andreas Miranda and Martin Perret with Kruger describing it as completing a trilogy that is “an intimate roadmap back into feeling”. Beginning in 2019 with the release of the introverted collection of lullabies Sleeping Tapes for Some Girls, the trio of tapes has heightened the band’s growing reputation as creative truth seekers and tellers who are excavating sonic territory adjacent to the likes of Broadcast, Aldous Harding, Marika Hackman, Grouper, King Hannah and Sonic Youth.
Teen Tapes (for performing your own stunts) might, at first, seem like an unlikely collection of love songs, propelled as it is by the melancholia that washes of fuzz guitar, languid bass notes and hushed, stretched out vocals frequently invite. But listen closely and it’s evident that Kruger’s lyrics capture the exploration of the full-on embrace of love in all its terrifying, beautiful manifestations.
Says Kruger, “What I mean when I say ‘teen’ is some kind of giving into emotion that veers between keeping your feelings pent up because you are in such unfamiliar territory but then, at other times, giving in to an unstoppable outpouring of those feelings. On Teen Tapes I was trying to mimic that in the music, through a record that has the darkest sound of the whole trilogy but, because it is so explicit in the feelings being conveyed, is also an indicator of aliveness, of some kind of waking and permission to play.”
The album opens with a track that defines the teenage experience of love – one that is so intoxicating it becomes near impossible to breathe or speak. “She makes me feel/So fucking warm/She takes me back/To the high school corridor/During a summer thunderstorm”, sings Kruger on “Warm 1”, before describing how “I’ve got no words/I’ve got no breathe/Oh I’m a mess, I’m a mess”.
But, by album closer “Unpack”, there’s an open armed faith in love, despite the long journey it takes to get to sharing your life with someone, and the possibilities of falling once you do. “See I don’t know how to hold back/When your skin is just within my restless touch/Do you think I could unpack/My nights into your room /It’s all I want to do/I’m so in love with you,” sings Kruger, sparse instrumentation surrounding her open and quiet wondrous voice.
In the eight tracks between “Warm 1” and “Unpack” there’s a spread of remarkable music. “Risk” is the album’s spellbinding fourth single and the sound of one of the most exciting bands playing today; “Spinning” is an album standout that steers the listener through a slowly building layer of sound that invites letting go and immersion in a lover’s presence, body, mind that is at once beautiful and carnal and “Escape” is extraordinary, the musicians coming together in a way that is both transcendent and familiar.
Other highlights include the trio of singles that preceded the release of Teen Tapes: the intense and tender “Play”,” Amsterdam”, which was written as a kind of escape out of and into the intensity of feeling Kruger was experiencing in the early days of her new love, and third single “Autobiography of an Evening”, written shortly after Lucy had finished reading Autobiography of Red, a novel in verse by Anne Carson. “Carson has the ability to merge the mythological and the profound with the more pedestrian and mundane in a deeply humanising way,” says Kruger. “The song title is a nod of gratitude towards the book and the author – and the song itself is about trying to hold onto moments of intense connection as a way out of the terror of the everyday; about the courage in continuing the attempt to transcend, while half aware of the inevitable descent.”
In the four or so years that Kruger has been creating the Tapes trilogy, she’s come to the realisation that “an album doesn’t have to represent the whole of you but just gives permission to some aspect of you that needs to be amplified”.
“The Tapes trilogy was an attempt to unlock something and reframe my perception of myself as an artist,” she concludes. “A chance to play with identity through sound, and vice versa, in a way that leaves me excited to see what happens next, musically, and otherwise.”
“Risk was the first song written for Teen Tapes (for performing your own stunts) and describes a moment of undoing. A falling into feeling that would inspire the rest of the songs, full of both pent-up energy as well as evocative outpourings. Wilfully juvenile. A love story, with all the joy and terror that love stories must endure.” – Lucy Kruger
The video, created by Cape Town collective Cult Wife, is an animation of a lyric comic illustrated by Nena Maree, a fellow Cape Town artist and brings to life the intensity of the new album.
Buy / Stream – ‘Teen Tapes’ (for performing your own stunts)
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