Album Review: Lotus' Citrus
Words by J. Picard
While the world was shut down, Lotus continued to create music and lay a path forward into the future. Not only will the band be playing the first four shows of 2021 at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre as it re-opens, but they've released a new EP, Citrus. The album kicks off with a synth-laden space-fueled "Journey To Saturn" with organic percussion from Chuck Morris intermingling with electronic keys and heavy bass from the Miller brothers. Unwavering guitar from Mike Rempel fuels the band's signature sound.
The title track "Citrus" begins with what sounds like an African kora and flute contrasting a very electric sound otherwise. Enter what sounds like a balafon or mallet-struck instrument along with some heavy bass and "Citrus" turns to lemonade in a sound not dis-similar to Toubab Krewe at times. Only two tracks in and Lotus shows some interesting range and direction on this EP.
"Phantom Tooth" features a disjointed yet desirable melody and synth organ that grows and crescendos with some heavy drums from Mike Greenfield before dissolving into a beautiful Lotus-esque peak and funk rooted resolution. "Year of The Jaguar" wobbles like a vibey dream and would sonically cast perfectly for a night drive through a neon cityscape. Analog arpeggiating midi sounds climb as the composition builds for an airy mid section, only to resolve to the original melody for the song's conclusion.
"Condor" is the first song on the EP that felt like the band had stepped outside of their comfort zone. A very clean piano sound is met with whispering wind and ambient layers to create something that could be defined as pop, relative to the bands other material. The track is part lofi, part ambient and will fit beautiful into the band's live set. I can imagine "Condor" soaring over Red Rocks in the coming days and can't wait for a return to the fabled Colorado venue this weekend!
"Fields of Mint" creates beautifully relaxing and sweet imagery, perfect for a summertime picnic or a bike ride in the park with a slight breeze on smiling faces. In addition to the sound again reflecting the band's range, the composition will likely find its way onto many summer playlists and set the vibe for warm nights to come. The EP closes with "Drifting Away From Shore." The song is mellow and reflective, classic yet new. Rempel's playing encapsulates the feeling of a 50's love song at times and the band collectively creates a delightful space.
Citrus is very Lotus sounding, which for a band who has dipped their toe into different soundscapes, is reassuring to the old-school fan looking for something new and not altogether unfamiliar. This is not some easily forgotten release. Coming out of a dark year, Lotus may have just released the soundtrack for your summer and could accompany memories of reopening, hugging friends and traveling to places in which we've only been able to dream of for a time. America may be coming back, but Lotus never left.