We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
For 10 years now, Lungfish has created a singular style of rock both heavy like Metallica and sublime like a raga. Like planets around the sun, the quartet’s songs rotate around Asa Osborne’s textured guitar mantras: Some of his riffs are like Pluto, straying far from the band’s solar bassist Nathan Bell and drummer Mitchell Feldstein, while others tightly lock into the rhythm section. Artificial Horizon, Lungfish’s seventh release, doesn’t entirely break out of the band’s familiar routine, but it’s hypnotic and otherworldly. Singer and spaceman Daniel Higgs blasts through Lungfish’s meditative cosmos, pushing hard against the music’s mesmerizing pull. His recent solo record under the name Cone of Light was a mess of lo-fi instrumental sounds even more impenetrable than his lyrics and pseudonyms. (On Artificial Horizon he’s listed as Omon Ortsa.) But Higgs’ solo experimentation influences this album, which features five instrumentals (sounding like Lungfish karaoke-style) and “Slip of Existence,” a convoluted, echo-laden lament. On “Oppress Yourself,” “Shed the World” (the band’s poppiest song ever), and “Love Will Ruin Your Mind,” Higgs’ lyrics tend toward the dreamlike (“I was stalked by echoes/I wore amphibian skin” from “Ann the Word”) and the confounding (“UNITHEANIMISTICALLIZATION/EXTRAPHYSIOPSYCHIC NAVIGATION/ ANTHROTRANSLIMBONIC SPATIALIZATION/ GEOSONIC OMNISTATIC VOCALIZATION” from “Slip of Existence”). Former Fire Party singer Amy Pickering lends guest vocals to “Pray for the Living,” which beats Lungfish’s modus operandi into submission; the same guitar line is repeated for nearly three minutes as Higgs growls hymns to the universe. Hallelujah.Christopher Porter