Review: Lucy - Churches, Schools and Guns


Announced in December and due to drop on the 17th of February, Lucy’s controversially titled 'Churches, Schools and Guns' is set to deliver “misdirection and unpredictability”. It’s the Italian-born, Berlin-based producer’s second full-length studio album to date following his 2011 debut, Wordplay for Working Bees, as well as the second artist album on his Stroboscopic Artefacts label to get a full vinyl release (after Zeitgeber, Lucy’s collaboration with Speedy J).

My top picks for the tracks on the LP are, incidentally but also rightly so, the tracks that have been reworked on the 4-track remix EP – currently out as a fitting teaser to the full-length release (and with an enviable roll call of producers including Milton Bradley).

Much of the album seems to aim at creating dissonance: ‘The Self As Another’ is both dark and uplifting; a majestic, gliding soundscape to a ritualistic dance performed under the pale moonlight. ‘Laws and Habits’ starts off with a punchy entrance, and then you can really hear Dadub’s precise mastering on this that makes it sound like fireworks are going off in the lower register, all before the moody synths finally creep in. In ‘Catch Twenty Two’, we feel like we’re surveying the ruins of a bleak dystopia through an unrelenting curtain of rain, yet there is hope in the form of something light and melodious that pierces through the ominous ambience now and then.

‘The Illusion Of Choice’ is perhaps my favourite, machine-gunning it hard right from the beginning, bearing all semblances of THE fierce techno onslaught we’ve been waiting for that matches the album title—but then we are blindsided as the melodies soar again, and this time they sound… almost as if they’re aspiring towards something greater.

Not on the remix EP but interesting nonetheless is ‘The Best Selling Show’, which reminds me of a sped-up carnival nightmare in the best way possible. ‘Follow The Leader’ is another number that evokes ritual, perhaps more obviously, with the chant of a Buddhist monastery set to a 4/4 beat.

With Churches, Luca Mortellaro’s experimental approach to production continues to become more refined, as one might expect from the boss of an imprint known for pushing the boundaries of techno. Far from being a club-centric album, several of the tracks on here would in fact work exceedingly well as film scores, albeit of some very weird, very futuristic or artistic films. And that’s a good thing.

The album will be available on CD, digital and 3xLP vinyl.

01. The Horror
02. Leave Us Alone
03. The Self As Another
04. Human Triage
05. Laws and Habits
06. Follow The Leader
07. Catch Twenty Two
08. The Illusion Of Choice
09. We Live As We Dream
10. All That Noise
11. The Best Selling Show
12. Falling feat. Emme