First Listen: Lusine "The Waiting Room"

Falling in love depends on a lot of things. On the right circumstances, the timing, the readyness to let it happen, some common ground, and meeting the right person, of course. What is often underestimated is the amount of your own feelings you put into the other, just to find it there again. It is like hiding something of yourself in the other, disavow this process, and to suprisingly find it there again a second later. What the other has to bring to the table for this to be possible is the space and blankness to be a canvas for projection.

In this sense, Jeff McIlwain aka Lusine made an album to fall in love with, because “The Waiting Room” isn’t completely filled. There is something missing in the restraint and humble way the warm synths and dry female guest vocals are spanning most of the tracks. But this lack doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as it creates room for the listener to appropriate the album for himself, for putting something of himself in it. Of course, the rest of the above conditions have to be right for this to work, so it won’t happen to everyone. But I can feel it happening to me right now.

And just like love is awkward, so is “The Waiting Room” at times. The vocals on the second track “Get The Message” for example seem to be out of time and place, reminding of underproduced indie pop songs from ten years ago. They are sung by McIlwain’s wife – with love, I guess. And “Lucky”, after that, painfully stops short of being engaging, painfully so because it wouldn’t have taken much to make this track simply a good song, but it isn’t. Not on its own at least – not without the listener investing some trust in it first. And the long outro track “February” feels a bit random. But it is welcome then and there nonetheless, if only to keep the album around for a bit longer – because you aren’t ready to let it go just then, after some really good tracks inbetween.

And of course there are great tracks on this record. The first single Another Tomorrow with its sense of warmth and pristine, untouched soundscape, and the second track presented above, “Without A Plan” – purveying cuteness and closeness – are two of those, as well as the compact “By This Sound”. A personal highlight is the enthusiastic “Stratus” near the end. I guess I will have to accept that there is something going on between me and this record. Maybe it will happen to you too, but you got to let it. “The Waiting Room” is out on Ghostly International next week.


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