Lotus – “Escaping Sargasso Sea”


The Sargasso Sea is a shipping no man’s land. An elliptical stretch of water from Bermuda to England, there are scant winds and a plentitude of seaweed, often making it treacherous to cross by boat.

If the intention of Philly five-piece Lotus, in naming their new live album after this mysterious area (many boats are said to become trapped there), was to elude to them breaking out in the techno-rock genre, then kudos to them for an aptly named album.

It seems that music critics love to adopt certain bands every so often from particular genres and just flog the hell out of them. No disrespect to the likes of LCD Soundsytem (just incredible really) but it’s bemusing to watch Jame Murphy and company be adopted by indie rockers even though they are essentially crafting dance music.

That Lotus makes similar music (full of cowbells and whah-whah guitar licks and throbbing bass lines) but has been adopted by the jam band crowd is something of a mystery to me.

All of that is preamble to say that Lotus’s new double live album is an adventurous romp through several different genres, all the while crafting something utterly listenable. The 12 tracks were culled from multi-track recordings during their 2006 tour.

Think of this album as one you could put on at a small cocktail party. It’s neither brash enough to become annoying, nor is it sedate enough to effectively kill the party. The all-instrumental tunes are lively enough to keep party-goers pushing on through to the early morning, but offers something that booty-shaking hip-hop doesn’t — it’s enjoyable to listen to. Whether its funky, jazzy, spaced-out and new-agey or just rocking these guys manage to pull it off. It’s as if with each track they explore just how far they can go within the boundaries of the composition.

Well crafted music from a top-notch band to keep an ear on. Plus, we haven’t seen album artwork this dope since Iron Maiden was dropping rifts.

Standout tracks include: “Wax,” “Through the Mirror” and the trifecta of “Sunrain > Flower Sermon > Sunrain”

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