Lusterlit’s “List of Equipment”: Music review

“List of Equipment” is arguably the third release from the Lusterlit duo, Charlie Nieland‘s “Hopeful Monsters” and Susan Hwang‘s “Everything is Sateen” marking their joint debut last September.
Six months after that 14 song debut double, Lusterlit releases a five track EP of co-written tracks that shows them working more closely together from the genesis of the material through to the recording, distilling a range of influences from gospel and blues to folk and indie rock.
The airy milky slide guitar on the EP opener “Ceremony” sounds like something on a later PJ Harvey album like “The Hope Six Demolition Project,” while Susan’s vocals mirror a slice of “Near The Memorials To Vietnam And Lincoln” from that album. The track’s conclusion develops a sort of Joy Division-Dead Can Dance feeling.
Charlie’s jagged guitar riff forms the centerpiece of title track “List of equipment” in much the same way as his cycling bass line drives track four (“Flight”), a track lifted by the backing vocals of Marlon Cherry, Leslie Graves, and Jessie Kilguss.
Between those tracks, “The Day of the Triffids” marks the eerie mid-point of the EP, Dead Can Dance percussion and latter-day Nick Cave vocals and feel draped over a synth bass line reminiscent of a passage from Radiohead’s “Exit Music.”
The strongest track, the image-washed ballad “Genius of love” is like a U2-“Pop”/“Achtung Baby”-era version of Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna” – an avalanche of compelling emotionally charged imagery alive with yearning and trauma, overlaid on a clever minimalist baseline, descending chord progression, and a key shift to an aurally satisfying chorus, propelling the EP into another realm. It’s the kind of song you don’t want to end.

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