Hailing from the Southern California area, garage psych trio Lunar Hand may be young, but they sound like seasoned veterans. Fresh out of high school, drummer Christian Ruth, bassist/background vocalist Derulo Boulet, and frontman Junior Reed met in their jazz band class and quickly formed the group Voltage Control. After lighting up local venues with their live performances, the guys hit the road. Returning from a successful tour of the West Coast and having experienced both personal and professional growth, Reed decided they needed a new name and Lunar Hand was born. Their five track debut EP Magic Hour drops September 15th.
Magic Hour kicks things off with its lead single, “Smoke and Chandeliers.” Reed’s brooding baritone is musically mature beyond his years and draws you in from the first notes.His vocal delivery has a sort of 1950s doo-wop style to it that does a great job of nodding to the past while the instrumentation has its feet firmly planted in the present and beyond. With the sound of a party opening the next track, “12th Ave Fright” is a smartly put together song with hints of retro pop and a little bit of funk in its bass line.
“Wont You Come Along” is a standout on Magic Hour. Lunar Hand lists Rage Against the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, and Foo Fighters as some of their influences, and all them can be heard on this high energy rock track. Picking up the pace considerably, everything from the backing vocals to the impressive guitar playing comes together to form something special.The mid-tempo “Sand Song” hits us with a psych influenced desert rock vibe. The guitars are in the drivers seat on this one and the riffs work perfectly with Reed’s voice and style.
Magic Hour wraps it up with the addictive sounds of “Desert Road,” my favorite track on the release. Simply put, “Desert Road” displays some of the band’s best work with all three guys firing on all cylinders. Reed gets to show off his vocal range a bit while letting the melodies fly against some of the best guitar playing on the EP, and you might just be surprised at where that range can go.
Magic Hour is but a brief glimpse into the potential Lunar Hand holds, but what a glimpse it is. The musicianship is tight, the lyricism is solid and they’ve managed to create their own unique alt rock/vintage pop sound that exists somewhere in the space between the Oh Sees and Roy Orbison. This band is going to take off, as most do, on the wings of their frontman, Junior Reed. As lead singer, founding member, guitarist, songwriter and producer, Reed can elevate Lunar Hand, and quickly, with a little help from serendipity. With nowhere to go but up, and sitting on the edge of breakthrough success, look for Lunar Hand to emerge much like the Arctic Monkeys did at their age. The future is blindingly bright for this band and I definitely look forward to seeing what comes next for these guys. Check out their debut EP, Magic Hour, and let us know what you think.