As cornerstones of some of the most captivating rock bands of the 21st Century, its immediately apparent that L.S. DUNES is more than simply the sum of its parts. Straight-ahead, full throttle, aggressively avoiding too much polish or too many effects, this outfit turns on, turns up, and tears it all down. With their debut LP, Past Lives, L.S. Dunes have carved their place in the postmodern pantheon of abrasive, melodic, essential hard rock.
L.S. DUNES: drummer Tucker Rule and bassist Tim Payne (Thursday), guitarist Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), guitarist Travis Steever (Coheed And Cambria) and vocalist Anthony Green (Circa Survive) grind riff-heavy anthems super-charged with punk energy into a sound unlike anything that has come before it. Exploring themes of fearlessness, dependency, nonconformity, and impermanence, each of these 11 tracks delivers confident musicality and unapologetic
And the standouts are plentiful. From the gripping, theatrical opener “2022,” and the crunchy, frenetic earworm “Like Forever,” to the pummeling, expansive “Permanent Rebellion,” and the disarming album closer, “Sleep Cult,” Past Lives is an experimental, electrifying ride.
L.S. DUNES began in 2020, just as the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic was taking hold, and touring became impossible. “It started for me with a call from Tucker,” says Iero. “Tucker and Tim asked me to be involved. They wanted to do a project because we were supposed to be on tour, but we were stuck at home instead. There’s a mutual friendship with Travis from Coheed And Cambria. We got on a group chat, sent a couple of riffs--and some funny memes--back and forth, and it just grew from there.”
Things moved quickly. Beats, riffs, melodies, and arrangements traveled back and forth in emails,text messages, and file-sharing services. The momentum was such that they quickly realized they’d have to add a vocalist immediately, lest the band turn into a math-rock instrumental project. Only one name was ever seriously considered. “There were no other choices other than Anthony,” Rule says. “I’ve always wanted to play with him. He’s an incredible singer and artist. I just love his vibe. I love his passion and his stage presence.”
When Rule sent the songs over to Green, he purposefully didn’t mention who else was in the band. “We wanted the music to sink or swim on its own merits,” Iero points out. “Anthony immediately sent voice memos back with vocal ideas for a few songs. He has a fearless quality that I really love.”
Green sent the rest of the guys an acoustic track he’d written called “2022,” originally intended as a solo offering. When they reworked it, the band told him, “here’s your song back, on LSD.” This description fits almost everything they did together, and so a band name was born. L.S. DUNES. The enigmatic moniker conjures its founders' expansive, broad, atmospheric energy and intentions.
Payne put his engineering skills to work on the early demos, which were fine-tuned in preproduction at a New Jersey Studio. Eventually, they found their way to Grammy-nominated producer Will Yip (Turnstile, Quicksand, Code Orange), who worked on several Circa Survive records with Green. This was when Past Lives became fully realized, laying the foundation for everything L.S. DUNES to come.
The number of “bands” and projects proposed between touring partners and like-minded hard rock troubadours over the years is incalculable. So, when those flippant suggestions actually make it over the finish line and create something really special, it’s nothing short of miraculous. Cream, Mad Season, Temple Of The Dog, A Perfect Circle, The Power Station, those bands worked. Now L.S. DUNES adds its own vibrant chapter, this one written by modern architects of the explosive, melodic post-hardcore scene, all connected through underground venues, theaters, festivals, fanzines, social media, counterculture attitude, and an unrivaled passion for the genre.