The voices coming out of Canada right now are powerful, driven, and often pushing at the edges of genre. Usually, when I catch on to Canadian artists, they are coming out of Vancouver or Toronto. But like myself, Lunar Lander Dance Commander is a product of the Canadian prairies. With their debut EP, Liquid Smooth, they are blowing themselves out of the Saskatchewan fields and into the stratosphere, but never forgetting to keep us down below entirely entertained.
The goal is to get people jumping, and with the opening fuse of “Creeper” they are almost overwhelmingly successful. The track evokes the B-52s with a casual introduction before vocalist Stephanie Wilkinson calls, “Hey Boys! Whatcha looking at?”. There’s a touch of 50s dance hop here, but also a distinct alt-rock guitar line that becomes a staple of Lunar Lander Dance Commander’s music — the tether that holds their space exploration together. You’re going to hear combinations unlike anything you’ve heard before.
The twist of the rock’n’roll guitar comes again on “Free”, which begins with violins and luscious, soft vocals. Everything is uplifted and gentle until that guitar swoops in and elevates the track. The track melts again for an optimistic conclusion, providing a perfect platform for “Open Your Eye” to attack from. All punk, squeaking vocals, “Open Your Eye” is the most energetic track on the EP.
Dashes of darkness become apparent on “We Won’t Go” and “Rooftop Renegade”, which both use synths to explore otherworldly territory. “Rooftop Renegade” catches on bitterness and pulls you closer, so that “Free (Soak It In Remix)” can slide over you with those sweet vocals and the electro-beats which, instead of the original violins, become the hook. It’s an excellent twist on the source, and earns its place as the album closer.