"What Am I Doing"



Lushes is the compelling and moody brainchild of James Ardery and Joel Myers, and like their homophonic moniker (see: "luscious"), their debut album, What Am I Doing, is a collection of songs featuring styles and techniques that sound similar yet actually yield radical differences from track to track. In this respect, this experimental LP resists typical categorization and busies itself with pursuing more abstract pleasures - though it never strays too far into the ether, nor for too long. Instead, What Am I Doing takes only what it needs and gets going, and by doing this, by sampling and combining the best elements of post-hardcore, math rock, ambient, blues, et. al, Lushes provide their listeners with an experience that is surprising, diverse, and - despite such tinkering - cohesive. The album clocks in at just shy of 40 minutes, spread across seven artfully nuanced songs. Complexity, contradiction, and a knack for dynamics are the foundation of this perplexing release. Lushes thrive on bold contrasts, and their ability to encapsulate opposing themes of tension, mediation, absurdity, angst, and more within one album (sometimes within one song) is gripping. The listener is often coaxed into certain expectations or moods, only to be bamboozled by sonic misdirection. For every instance of hypnotic looping, a squelching guitar patiently waits its turn to blast you and your senses awake. There's no telling how one song will evolve and vary itself from the next, and that's what makes What Am I Doing's replay value so high: you want to understand all of the intricacies, how and why you got from point A to point B, but since it flies by so fast and divergently there's not enough time to digest everything one time around.