Review: Lost In Bohemia ‘Volume 1’

Lost In Bohemia are a South London male-female duo comprised of Samson Deluxe and Howling Mina respectively. As to the date of the band’s formation, I would venture it probably hasn’t been very long given how prior to Volume 1 their sole output has consisted of one single, Obsidian In Dust, released July 2021.

Lost In Bohemia 'Volume 1'

The promo-notes state that the band had become increasingly despondent with modern recording, and this hence facilitated their move to the days of Black Sabbath’s Self-Titled debut which was done in a mere two days with minimal overdubs. As a tip of the hat to that record, the band recorded eight songs with as many live takes as possible and no editing/copying/pasting taking place. Even a technological dunce like myself can understand that.

Aside from being on the excellent Trepanation Recordings, the preview track Garden Of England is what caught my ear from the off. Opening and closing with birdsong, the track also features ‘80s style guitar ala The Cult, doomy bass driven Sleep/Om style verses and undeniably catchy choruses. A perfect start to the album. Those Who Built The Engines combines industrial metal with the somewhat campy antics of both the Sisters of Mercy and the Valor Kand led era of Christian Death with Mina sounding similar to Gitane DeMone. It may sound like a potential nightmare in theory (some of those latter Christian Death albums often were), but it’s actually done pretty effectively here.

The Man Machine is a riff monster ala vintage Black Sabbath as well as alt-metal/noise-rock bands such as Helmet. Curiously I was also reminded of the track Beautiful Disaster by 311, there was a certain rap-rock feel to it but more in the rhythmic structure than any ill-advised attempts at rapping.

‘80s style guitar ala The Cult, doomy bass driven Sleep/Om style verses and undeniably catchy choruses…

Sea And Sky is part post-punk and part stoner rock boogie, think The Banshees meets Masters Of Reality. It’s an unusual yet intoxicating mix that serves to highlight both the album’s eccentricities and diversity simultaneously. The Black Is Never Far Away sees a darker early grunge sound (pre-1991), think Soundgarden at their murkiest as well as a touch of Melvins, vocally I was reminded of late 70’s LA punks The Dils, meanwhile Billywinkle bears similarities to In A Gadda Da Vida in its majestical pomp, as well as occult rock of bands such as Lucifer and Blood Ceremony.

The Blood And The Roses is heavy gothic metal with some, if I’m honest, laugh out loud moments what with Samson‘s somewhat exaggerated deep vocals that sound like he’s parodying both Pete Steel and Glenn Danzig. This is alternated at times with the equally amusing faster, cleaner vocals (and music) reflective of new wave/art-pop bands such as XTC and Sparks. A great track as it demonstrates the band’s sense of humour and willingness to not take themselves too seriously.

Kelpie, according to its Wikipedia definition, refers to a shape-shifting spirit inhabiting lochs in Scottish folklore. The music itself feels pure Danzig back when the mighty John Christ was the guitarist and when that band had a focus as well as a stable line-up. It’s also the shortest track on the album and an excellent way to conclude proceedings.

So, an album that may prove divisive, and whether you are left puzzled, irritated or delighted, at least you won’t be indifferent, which is the worst outcome for any artist, (not something that the likes of Coldplay and Ed Sheeran would ever be aware of). So impressed was I by Volume 1 that I pre-ordered the cassette, now all I need is the (hopefully not) lousy T-Shirt.

Label: Trepanation Recordings
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Reza Mills