Review by Ellis Heasley
Lurcher – Coma
Stoner rock from West Wales, UK
Releases September 3, 2021 via Trepanation Recordings
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you’ve probably heard something similar to Lurcher a fair few times by now. The West Wales-based trio deal in heavy riffs, moody atmosphere and a general ‘90s-ness’ that evokes some of the finest bands of that era (specifically Clutch, Kyuss and Soundgarden). Coma is their debut EP, and while the formula they use may be tried and tested, their execution is never less than solid.
The band get riffing from the word go, launching headlong into the record’s opening title track without any frills or fancies. It’s perhaps the most high-energy song on the record, with hard-hitting riffs and a chorus that boasts a hefty sense of swagger and stomp. As openers go, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d want from a band like Lurcher, setting the bar high for the three tracks to follow.
Like all great power trios, every member of Lurcher seems to pull their weight equally on Coma. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Harvatt keeps the riffs coming throughout, while also offering up some impressive soloing on every track. Bassist Tom Short cuts through too, matching Harvatt with a meaty and lumbering low-end as drummer Simon Bonwick injects a weighty sense of groove. The instruments are all produced excellently too, with the band sounding especially massive for a three-piece. If there is a criticism though, it’s that Harvatt’s vocals tend to sit a little low in the mix. That’s most likely an intentional decision, but it is a bit of a shame as the performance itself sounds strong.
After the relatively straightforward structure of the title track, the songs on Coma get progressively longer. “Remove The Myth From The Mountain” is a driving, grungy number bookended by winding and doomy riffs and solos. “All Now Is Here” which follows is more of a bluesy piece, with a Hendrixian main riff and some particularly impressive lead licks from Harvatt. Its closing moments hint at some of Lurcher’s more dynamic capabilities, ending with a couple of minutes of quiet pads and subtle swells. After that, closer “Cross To Bear” highlights the band’s command of dynamics further still, going from their standard heavy riffing to more downbeat ethereal verses. Eventually, the track reaches a grand and epic conclusion before ending on a brief tail of distant atmospherics.
To be honest, as soon as you hear the opening riff on this EP you should know exactly what to expect, and that’s what you get. This is a well-crafted collection of heavy, grunge-tinged stoner rock tracks that may not reinvent the wheel but still make for a good time. With a runtime of over 26 minutes, Coma is quite long for an EP, but it doesn’t feel anywhere near that. Going forward, it would be interesting to see Lurcher push themselves a little further, specifically with the more dynamic fare of the later tracks, but in the meantime this makes for a solid start from a band who surely have more to offer.