Marking their debut with There is Light Between Us, Boston's Lavinia delivers an impressive EP filled with emptiness and desolation.
Lavinia really does traffic in the gloomy, pouring into spaces with slow, plodding insistence. The band is comprised of members from a number of indie rock's more well-known acts, but this construct is something else entirely.
Led by vocalist and guitarist Nate Shumaker from Eski Ekso and On Fire, Lavinia calls to mind the godforsaken weepiness of The Cure with the pulsating, sensual glide of My Bloody Valentine. There's a deep crunch from the bass of Philip Jaimeson (Caspian) and the drums of Alex Mihm of Eksi Ekso. The presence of Josh Megyesy's slide guitar and banjo provides context.
Drawing on imagery from Roman mythology, Lavinia takes us on a journey through themes of self-destruction and depression. Yet through the fog when the guitars slightly lift and the atmosphere drifts a touch, these guys let the sunlight peek through.
The EP opens with "Destroy Yourself," a slowly building piece that spirals upwards into hope despite its menacing title. Mihm's clattering, punishing drums give the song its drive, while ominous mist sinks into the room.
Elsewhere, "Fires" provides cascading guitar and Shumaker's ghostly vocals in a song that threatens to blow at any minute. And "Bone & Arrow" lets the gang show off some sparse playing over the course of seven or so minutes.
"Windmills" takes on the sensation of floating, riding largely on the black cloud that is Megyesy's textured slide.
Lavinia is a band making music for the sake of the creative process, it seems, and that's an encouraging sign. While it's hard to tell an awful lot out of a five song EP, the foundation is here for something unique. This is a group that doesn't mind living in the spaces, even if they are dark and cold.