“Behind Midwest Storefronts” from the album Hammerstrike
Lotus is a rock band. They might have some looping, electronic elements to their sound, but they’ll never put down their guitars to mess with on a laptop. With Hammerstrike, their brand new release, they’ve refined their sound, and seem poised to take their uplifting, grooving aura to new levels and audiences.
For starters, this trip to Charleston is their first at the Music Farm, a bigger stage that bassist Jesse Miller says is needed to fit the production they’ve created for this tour. With the album’s release last month, the band also found themselves on the cover of Pollstar magazine, a new level of acclaim for the Philly-based group.
“I think of it like being around a child every day. You don’t notice their growth as much as someone from the outside, who sees them once every few months,” says Miller. “We’ve been working really hard at this for years now, so every little jump and payoff seems like one small step. It’s not like we’re this radio band that has a single drop and all of a sudden everything’s huge.”
Lotus added another piece to their puzzle with Hammerstrike as well. The mostly instrumental band built fro lyrics included on their last album, either singing or recruiting vocalists for half of the album’s songs. It works. The repetition of “like stoned teenagers we’re free/but it’s never how we asked to be” on “Age of Inexperience” is both catchy and melodic.
Opening track “Beyond Midwest Storefronts” sets the tone for the album as a beautiful and building — but still rough and rocking — collection of songs.
“That track kind of defined how all of the other songs I was writing for the album would schematically fit together,” says Miller, on the phone as the band rolled across North Dakota to a show in Minneapolis. “I wanted the whole thing to have an American feel, and this feeling of always looking ahead to something else. There’s a real clear sonic element that goes through all the tracks and holds the whole thing together.”
Lotus concert veterans know the band can move a crowd, and with a new quiver of tracks and a bigger space to fill, that’s what they’ll be aiming to do. —Stratton Lawrence