Lava La Rue – Hi-Fidelity review: a numbing tale of idolatry oozing in ‘80s psychedelia.
The west Londoner completes their musical metamorphosis, trading lo-fi boom-bap for a bold new era.
Endlessly imaginative, one of Lava La Rue’s greatest strengths has always been building their own world. ‘Lava Land’, a dazzling universe that celebrates genderfluidity and equality, has been the subject of their artistic endeavors since they burst onto the scene in 2017. Since then, the world’s become more tangible thanks to self-directed music videos and self-designed clothing lines, which have created a safe space for fans to indulge in and relate to.
Although ‘Hi-Fidelity’ comes two years after the previous project ‘Butter-Fly’, in this time, the multi-hyphenates produced brain-boggling videos for Wet Leg and collaborated with Lazy Oaf on a range of agender garments. They’ve also digressed from their hip-hop and RnB beginnings and become synonymous with an exciting scene of alt-pop indie artists, alongside names such as Deb Never and Beabadoobie.
Spending time between Los Angeles and London, this record comes in a transitional period for Lava artistically. The result is a breezily psychedelic journey that presents the artist’s incubated vulnerabilities: Lava (real name Ava Laurel) looks from within instead of leaning on the social observations of their most adolescent projects.
The title track and lead single ‘Hi-Fidelity’ sees Lava content with the relationship she chases throughout the EP. Whistling 80s synths and groovy baselines nestle beneath the numbing deliveries of both Lava and fellow NiNE8 member Biig Piig, who’s on hand to illuminate this tale of adoration. ‘Don’t Come Back’, however, picks up on the sourness such infatuation brings. ‘Don’t come back // don’t come back to me baby’ Lava howls, warning of the toxicity their love breeds.
Psychedelia seeps from the singles and into every moment on the record. ‘Cry Baby’, with its shuffling drums and hallucinogenic guitar riffs, flexes Lava’s lyrical capabilities through distorted verses, caricaturing their emotions and adding to this cauldron of giddy love. Compared to earlier work, Lava’s flows are more fluid and the warped vocals channel their various streams of consciousness.
Although ‘Hi-Fidelity’ indulges in aspects of 'Butter-Fly', the welcome emphasis on Lava’s guitar work manifests west-coast indie energy, comparable to bands like Automatic and Cherry Glazerr. Fans may be sad to see the UK rave sonics of cuts like ‘Goofy Hearts Club’ go, but the vibe on this record is beautifully intoxicating. When Lava eventually awakes from their narcotic relationship, we’ll be watching closely to see what they do next.