Lensmen formed in 2016 by Dan Fisher (keyboards), Gavin McClafferty (bass), Jason Wilkinson (drums) and Alun Hughes (vocals). Lensmen are a dark and atmospheric group who confront their audience with a raw and visceral vision of the future. Deeply rooted in the darker moments of rock’s tortured past drawing influences from post punk, new wave and psychedelia. The name is derived from the legendary liquid lights which were a feature of Hawkwind’s mind-warping live shows in the early 1970s. But while they admit to the occasional psychedelic wigout onstage it’s the words that remain front and centre.
Front man and award winning poet Alun Hughes had been on an intense journey during lockdown writing and publishing the pamphlet Down The Heavens which forms the backbone to the LP.
The themes are very much drawn from their home town but reflect global concerns. Sometimes Al’s talking about going to the supermarket like in How Late It Was where the checkouts print living wills… a harsh critique of our consumerist times. Other tracks such as Cloud As A Hawk are simple tales of cloud busting but with a real kicker in the tail. The final track Oaken closes on a dubwise vibe, and is a reflection on how the slave trade is woven into their landscape of Stroud, in the Cotswolds… the Brits of old, forced off their land by the lords into poverty, had to rent back the land they had subsisted on for years… In order to pay those rents they went abroad to steal to feed the landed thieves back home. This inequity is seen in every wall and every tree of our landscape…
“we feel it, we learn and we try and share it to”.
The latest release and first LP from Stroud based quartet Lensmen hits all platforms on Friday 2nd December. A nine track labour of love that saw the band build their own studio and collaborate with the likes of Edward Upton (DMX Krew) and Simon Edwards (Talk Talk, Beth Gibbons). A lock down project that forced the band to creatively work their way around sound engineering and production obstacles to uniquely combine musical motifs with spoken word. All mastered by the wonderful and Grammy winning Shawn Joseph