by Jordan Reyes (@jpreyes90)
Though the cover of Sun, debut LP from Chicago trio Luggage, exhibits several shades of gray perched atop a cloud, there’s a big difference between monochromatic and boring – just ask Rick Owens. Gray gets a bad rap for being drab, though – gray coats the sleek surface of your Macbook just as much as the engine of the garbage truck that wakes you a little too early for a Monday. Gray also colors most production machinery, a more appropriately churning parallel. Luggage are steam-powered, fired by Luca Cimarusti’s chugging drum patterns, Michael John Grant’s propulsive bass and Michael Vallera’s acrobatic guitar – on Sun, the coal’s coming in hot.
Luggage straddles the line between post-punk and shoegaze - like the best of the afore-mentioned genres, crafting damaged pop songs, catchy and memorable but uncomfortable, familiar but never formulaic enough to be unsurprising. An instrumental plateau may take the place of a cliché post-rock climax like the ending of opening burner “City Falls.” How many times do you want to see bands quasi-cover the only Explosions in the Sky song, anyway? That said, the title track, and album closer, comes the closest to peaking. Beginning with a melancholy guitar, Vallera’s incanted vocals pepper color onto the powerful, though minimal instrumental before utilizing an ecstatic, swelling bass line that evokes the cover’s break above the clouds. It’s a rapturous moment, an effective sign-off, and an especially rewarding conglomerate of what Luggage does best – chug forward.