Hailing from Montreal, The Luyas are Pietro Amato, Mathieu Charbonneau, Bucky Wheaton, Sarah Neufeld and Jessie Stein. It is easy to get lost in the Luyas’ musical world. Their retro-futurist songs are drenched in echo, and built from guitars, French horn, piles of keyboards, drums and percussion. Singer/guitarist Jessie Stein expands the band’s already wide musical vocabulary when she plays the Moodswinger — a 12-string electric zither designed by the Dutch experimental luthier Yuri Landman. The band’s brilliant debut album, Too Beautiful To Work was embraced by critics and was also included on the long list for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize.
Their latest album, Animator, was recorded in their hometown of Montreal and created in the midst and reflection of a close friend’s sudden death. It flows through its own catharsis with a profound depth and richness.
The Luyas went into the studio on a February morning with the plan of getting some drum sounds to start writing songs for a new album. As the mics were going up, the band received a phone call. There had been a sudden death. The incomprehensible event left the band in an existential daze. The mics put themselves up that morning.
There’s something almost supernatural to the feel of the record. “Animator is supposed to be some weird resuscitation. The animator’s job is to create the semblance of movement in things that cannot move themselves. The musician’s is to make us feel like something is happening with a sound,” explains Stein.
Recorded and produced at the Treatment Room by band member and experimental brass player Pietro Amato and mixed by Jace Lasek of the Besnard Lakes at his Breakglass Studios in the band’s hometown of Montreal, Animator is a cathartic sophisticated collection of songs. As melodically compelling as it is artistically rich, Animator is intuitive, seductive, moody and textural. It slowly unfolds its beauty and trusts the listener to stay with it.
The band’s riveting live show has been charming fans since the release of 2011’s Too Beautiful To Work, and they’ve toured the world with the likes of the Antlers, the Dodos and Blonde Redhead. The Luyas are ascending a trajectory of artistic vision and creativity, and asking if we, too, are curious.