Lulu and the Lampshades: Cold Water EP review

Lulu and the Lampshades have made a gorgeous little EP that makes us crave summer, festivals and iced lollies. With illustrations by Sarah Matthews, Matilde Sazio, Mhairi-stella McEwan and Romain Lambert-Louis.

Written by Jessica Furseth

Illustration by Romain Lambert-Louis

It’s good thing it’s starting to feel like spring outside, as listening to Lulu and the Lampshades in the dead of winter strikes me as being something akin to torture. This is music that makes me want to ride my bicycle along gravel roads, slurping down iced lollies and squinting as the sunshine pokes through my eyelashes.

There is a lot of sweetness to Lulu and the Lampshades – starting with the playfulness of the name itself, down to the music which is a bucketful of sunshine. At least that was my first impression, before I listened to the new ‘Cold Water’ EP. The only thing I’d heard of the London-based foursome before was ‘Feet to the sky’, a cheery little number with an even cheerier video, but for a release with just four tracks, ‘Cold Water’ does an impressive job of delivering diversity.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

My favourite thing about Lulu and the Lampshades is probably main singer (and former Amelia’s Magazine art editor) Luisa Gerstein’s voice – a rich, chocolatey sound which makes you think of bigger songs and swoonier music productions. But the stripped back style of the Lulu songs do an excellent job of accompanying Luisa. The overall effect is something akin to listening to your favourite act playing at a musical, just a few feet away and it feels like they‘re playing just for you.

It certainly sounds like the Lulus having fun though, skipping along (or at least that’s what it sounds like) on the title track ’Cold Water’. Although the lyrics tell a more complex story: ’I hate to be wrapped in cotton although I think it’s better for me / Yes I see there’s trouble but it’s proven to me I’m better off this way’ … I’m not sure if the music and lyrics are mismatched, or if Luisa is simply the happiest when causing a bit of trouble?

Illustration by Mhairi-stella McEwan

Illustration by Sarah Matthews

The video to ‘Cups’, or ‘You’re gonna miss me’, has had over half a million YouTube hits, as Luisa and Heloise banging those plastic beakers into the kitchen table really needs to be seen. ‘Cups’ started out as a routine Louisa learnt at percussion class, combined with new verses and a chorus from a traditional folk song. The result is a lovely little ’all together now’ call-and-response song, but it’s that cup action that has us all going Whoa Lulu! Have a look:

‘I’ll keep my demons underground if it keeps you smiling’, Luisa sings as ‘Demons’ start. Although the flute and glockenspiel keeps things light, the darker undertones are definitely there now, both in terms of lyrics and tone. ‘Cause you’ve punctured me / I’ve ruptured at the seams and though its strange for me / I’ll do my best to keep the rest from falling out’ … But there is something fairytale-like about it too, like the stories about witches and evil creatures that we like because it gives us a chill down our backs.

‘Moccasin Mile’ mixes vocal harmonies, ukulele and some nifty drumstick action as the tempos change. ‘If you can’t be good then please be careful,’ Luisa sings … But then the flute comes in again at the chorus, as Lulu regulars Luisa, Heloise, Jemma and Dan were joined by flutist Isobel to add some extra ‘dance around the maypole’ feeling. And that’s it – four tracks are done and Lulu and the Lampshades have certainly managed to whet our appetites for a full-length album. As well as a dip in a lake that’s still a little too cold, before skipping on home with sunburnt cheeks.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Illustration by Sarah Matthews

‘Cold Water’ by Lulu and the Lampshades is out now on Moshi Moshi. Have a look at our listing for the current gig schedule, plus see the YouTube channel for more music videos.

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  1. [...] determination lead Never let “limited resources” hold you back. Lulu and the Lampshades ”You’re gonna miss me” has had over half a million YouTube hits. Watch as Luisa and [...]

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