Progtronic power trio lespecial blasts back into focus with the ambitious, raging “Lungs of the Planet”, the first video/single from Odd Times, the group’s fourth studio LP, due out on September 29th.
This brilliant band—comprised of guitarist Jonny Grusauskas, bassist Luke Bemand, and drummer Rory Dolan, friends and bandmates since high school—continues its steady ascent and unicorn sonic evolution on the seven-minute track, which stands out as some of the heaviest lespecial material to date. “Lungs of the Planet” uses sledgehammer, speed-metal riffage, surgical rhythmic precision, and ethereal vocal stylings to send an ominous warning with authority, convincingly communicating this urgent message of impending climate chaos.
Directed and edited by Chris Beikirch (@CBVideoMarketing) and filmed at Catalyst Stage at ESPN headquarters in Connecticut. the music video for “Lungs of the Planet” finds the power trio performing inside a vibrant rainforest. Soon the situation turns from scenic to apocalyptic. As the lush greenery at the outset is set ablaze, the setting mirrors the forest fires that have destroyed sizable swaths in the Amazon, Northern California, Canada, and beyond.
With Havok frontman David Sanchez producing, Grusauskas, Bemand, and Dolan put their collective foot into this bombastic banger. This multi-hued journey blends prog-core melody and mathematics, old-school thrash sonic overdrive, glitch-knobs, and subtle flourishes of drum programming with pensive, layered vocals floating atop this malevolent concoction.
Conceptually, “Lungs of the Planet” can be traced to the musings of Charlie Keil, an 83-year old “jazz cat” and mentor to Grusauskas. Keil is an author who has interviewed the likes of Malcolm X and B.B. King, a professor who taught ethnomusicology and drums, an activist whose ideals align with and inform lespecial’s own convictions.
“‘Lungs of the planet’ was a phrase that came up in conversation with Charlie about the forests and rainforests being responsible for the respiration of our atmosphere and biome, and the planetary need to unify in the prioritization of protecting these natural systems.” Grusauskas told Live For Live Music. “Charlie holds dear the ideas that we must conserve our earthly resources and the music and dance traditions of our cultural past. I was inspired by my teacher and his work to write a song about the importance of protecting these forests and the mycelial systems underneath them, a task that is, as Paul Stamets says, ‘a matter of national defense.’”
Like so many songs in this age, its genesis can be traced to a voice memo, with the embryonic demo featuring Jonny quasi-beat-boxing and singing into his phone. Grusauskas credits his bandmates’ contributions for bringing the resulting aural elixir to fruition. “Specifically, Luke’s growling. overdriven bass, often played with a pick for that extra edge. Jonny explained. “And Rory’s fierce drum fills and explosive double bass, as well as his more subdued electronic drum patterns. Their stylizations brought the song to life in a powerful way.”
With regard to the track’s modality and trance-like energy, Grusauskas pointed to Primus’ cover of The Residents’ “Hello Skinny” as a subversive inspiration. Collectively, Bemand, Dolan, and Jonny had this to say about their next chapter and this new lespecial single/video:
“Odd Times is our darkest, heaviest record to date. Yet, within that darkness there is light and levity to be found. Our first single, “Lungs of the Planet” is a call to mobilize our thoughts and actions, to prioritize the conservation of natural systems, to take example from the symbiosis of mycelial networks in our forests, and use them to realize a world of balance. To live in harmony with it, not at odds with it. Nature can be brutal, nature can be metal, but humanity also has the ingenuity to find peace and stasis, and to use our resources for good, rather than militarization. Its double kick thrash riffs are simultaneously an angry battle cry and a hopeful declaration that homo-sapiens can be better.“
Watch the official music video for “Lungs of the Planet” the lead single from new lespecial LP Odd Times, below. Pre-save “Lungs of the Planet” ahead of its August 18th release on streaming services here. Pre-order your copy of Odd Times ahead of the album’s September 29th release here.
lespecial – “Lungs of the Planet” (Official Video)
lespecial will hit the road for an extensive fall tour in support of Odd Times, with several dates to be announced in the coming weeks. The band’s autumn schedule is anchored by its fourth annual two-day event, Le Getaway, on October 13th and 14th at Club Getaway in Kent, CT. This year’s iteration will serve as the official Odd Times album release party and will feature camping, workshops, additional performers (TBA), and plenty of additional surprises. For details on all of lespecial’s upcoming tour dates, head here.