Lullwater is a rock band that has a chance to make rock likable again. They record on analog tape, which is admittedly impractical. But like Batman director Christopher Nolan retaining traditional film in his own work, Lullwater wants to keep things rooted.
A seismic rawness exemplifies the group’s latest and best music video and single, Vendetta Black. You can hear whispers that the group’s attempted DIY video-making is pure artistic pretentiousness- otherwise known as bullshit. But as Robert Christgau unironically says, it is easier to beat up art than make it. For every critic that says something is crap, an angel’s face explodes.
Lullwater is possibly one of the most astonishing modern rock acts out there. I have a hard time figuring out if Lullwater’s macho-throwback rock is purely calculated or entirely free-floating. I can just picture these guys getting mad at one member for shaving his neckbeard. An A&R guy is taking notes in the corner and interrupting, “Can you make this sound messier? We are trying to make a Foo Fighters record here, not the next Ariana Grande single.”
Lullwater is a little metal. They are also a little country rock (A LITTLE) and a little bit, you guessed it, classic rock. Channeling all their efforts is an obvious DIY mentality and appreciation for indie rock and roll. Ryan White was part of the now defunct trio, Resident Hero, who crafted a minor pop-rock hit in 2007 with former Flyleaf vocalist, Lacey Mosley. The track was ‘Vendetta Black.’ So in a somewhat unprecedented move, Lullwater rerecorded the song for themselves alongside Ryan White. The new version is basically a total retooling of the original rock track. The band did what they do best- they dirtied it up.
The move is very intentional. Vendetta Black packs a walloping hook, and Lullwater adds enough grit and strain to the track to make it their own. What should be a video of grimy intensity, to match the track, is largely fitted with shots of the desert from a tour van, drumming recording sessions, and quick clips of guys randomly laughing and screwing around. The last 30 seconds of the video was the punchline- the band opening for Flyleaf to a sweaty crowd of mainstream rock fans that loved ‘All Around Me’ and then forgot to care.
Lullwater is a great band- seriously. My cynicism is aimed more at the current position of dirty rock and roll, more relegated to the status of sideline Coachella stage than any kind of prominence in the music industry. But it only gives us more of a reason to cheer on Lullwater, even when they are pumping out new muddy rock jams or taking new spins on minor-alt rock hits from when music still made artists money.