Lichen Slow is a new duo comprising Malcolm Middleton of Arab Strap and Joel Harries of Team Leader and instrumental-noise band 72%. You might not think they’d make a likely pair, but after being introduced they “just clicked and had a good chat about Bolt Thrower,” according to Middleton. From there they started sharing ideas that have become their debut album Rest Lurks, which arrives in March on Rock Action.
The first song to be shared is “Hobbies”, and Middleton says: “The last song we recorded for the album and a band favourite. Potentially a signpost to where Lichen Slow will head next: hooks but depth, and a little darkness. The song grew out of Joel’s chiming, mesmerising bass lines, bringing to mind magick, creation and a real or imagined deal with the devil.”
A gentle indie strummer flanked by shining horn blasts, “Hobbies” is immediately evocative of a lonely winter scene. It makes a nice setting for Middleton and Harries’ reminiscences on struggles they’re working through and an extended recollection of a vivid dream about making a deal with the devil for their soul – and the ultimate bum deal they get out of it. What sounds like a simple song on its surface turns out to have more soothingly mesmeric layers to it on each listen, and it simultaneously brings to mind snow-swept cold and the warmth of being inside, wrapped up tight.
Watch the video for “Hobbies” below or find it on streamers.
Lichen Slow’s debut album Rest Lurks comes out on March 10 through Rock Action (pre-order/save).