Editor's note: You can also read the NUVO review of Lotus's recent concert at The Vogue.
The fact that so many artists these days necessitate hyphenations and mixed-genre definitions can be wearing, but it really is tough to classify Lotus. One thing is certain; their roots are in jazz. “Bush Pilot” is all horns and riffs. It is beautifully followed by “Drown,” which throws you right back to your favorite DJ and your favorite club, to a time when clubs were still about discovering new tunes. Then, just as suddenly, the blues slip in, and punk, and entirely danceable beats.
All of this makes the fact that this band formed at Goshen College in Indiana almost hard to believe. They seem big-city, like they're from a place where a convergence of culture lends itself to such a spectrum of sound (no offense, Goshen). But then, it’s also reassuring: people everywhere are making music that sounds like this—music that should be mixed genre-wise. And this is certainly a mixing: the album was recorded in several locations over the span of several months. Lotus has been around since 1999, and, like most bands together over a decade, they’ve changed their sound a bit—added percussion, focused more or less on funk, etc.
There are bits of Phish, Radiohead, Daft Punk and Broken Social Scene here, but with several moments of absolute clarity of genre; as in, some songs that seem so linked to one genre or another are followed by absolute total reversal. But these switches fit.
This album seems to have more organic roots than some of the more electronic-heavy stuff. It’s easy to listen to—easy to drive to and dance to; it's practically trance-inducing. Some bands don’t manage to maintain their varied definitions, but it works here—both the mixing of sounds within each song, and the variety of songs within this album. The band is based in Philadelphia now, but their influences and their experiences to this point make them seem grounded wherever they are.