They offer one of the most indulgent Tumblr pages for all who love to boggle their mind with the current state of society. The meaning or message of Lost Under Heaven, however, is not necessarily a downbeat one. “It could be hope or optimism; something lost gives a sense of possibility to be found,” the rising band ponders. With self-proclaimed “future blues,” the duo’s recently released Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing offers an abstract and welcome musical change. Sipping orange juice, Ebony and Ellery tell us—and often enthusiastically interrupt each other—about their music and world.
It all started when Ellery James Roberts, former member of WU LYF, and audio-visual artist Ebony Hoorn met in Manchester. Hitting it off directly, they travelled back and forth before naming Amsterdam their hometown, and finding a name that connects all of us under the big blue sky. Having worked together for a while now, they seem to agree upon the same ideas. What’s more, Ellery comes across much more explanatory than formerly, when his Internet mystery was dubbed incomprehensible by UK music press—due to WU LYF revealing nothing to zero in interviews or online. “When I was younger I never felt comfortable. I never felt like I had the words to say what I wanted to say, or had people around me to talk about what I wanted to say. I wanted a revolution every day,” he explains.
“Lovers are warriors, LUH stands with all those that work for beauty, against the defeated cynicism of dead culture, all those that commit to the possibility of a better future in our life time, an idea that seems to have been long forgotten as this dystopian present has been culturally normalized.” It is just one of many statements on LUH’s Tumblr page, published alongside their music. Mix critical lyrics with a revolting sound, and you have Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing.
LUH brings back the power of minimalistic visuals, and sonically stands out for Ellery’s raspy voice and Ebony’s sweet tone, perfectly in and out of sync with each other. Spiritual Songs includes symbolic track titles such as Laments, Loyalty and Unites and the repetitive mantra of I&I. Ellery points out: “I&I is a song that’s trying to deal with impossible limitations, like the desire to do something, but also the internal dialogue that restricts you. Sonically it rises,” he continues, “It’s about finding that motivation to act. According to Ebony, the album should be listened to as a circle, exploring the full song cycle. “If you break the album in half, the first part is quite dark and about modern-day alienation, how to deal with that. Then the other half just opens up a lot more with realisation and acceptation, like self-discovery.”
So what does LUH look like on stage? You’d expect an audio-visual act, yet the band has a different approach. Ebony eludes: “We’re already living in a society that lives on-screen the whole time, and I’m really interested in the idea of creating something that’s passive to watch. The public needs to engage in the music in order to get something out of it.”
LUH touches on civilization, and the choices that young creatives have in supporting the culture they are part of. Jokingly opting for regressive conservatism, Ellery confesses he thinks you can’t change society as a whole, but you can contribute to making people aware of certain ideas by embracing a thought-provoking manner of music making. “We live in a world that gives so much ease, this convenient society. But I feel like you’ll find more fulfilment in achieving something difficult, to act on something that takes time, consideration and effort. You’ll get more fulfilment from that, rather than feeling like a passive blob when having things presented to you.”
Whether you get to encounter the beauty of LUH in Brooklyn, Lisboa or Amsterdam, be sure it will subtly revolutionise the way you see the world—one song at a time.