Riverside County’s Lunar Hand has had quite an active year in building their portfolio as one of SoCal’s latest garage-pop powerhouses. Earlier in the spring, the band released a bangin’ single and an EP called Days Like These, making their latest release “Habits” their seventh new track of 2019. The band has never shied away from songs at the longer end of the spectrum—most of their discography averages around four to five minutes—but “Habits” takes the crown as their longest track to date coming in at 6:09 minutes long. In the age of digital streaming, it’s brave of a band to put out content that requires a longer span of attention from a market of consumers looking for fast satisfaction, let alone making it a single. However, Lunar Hand tackles “Habits” expertly, as if they are veterans in the rock opera genre. They don’t let it drag on, they keep the flow of the song energetic and diverse, breaking the song into segments, making the six minutes seemingly short – a recipe for a perfectly repeatable song.
The track reels the listener in with a magnetizing bass line, joined late by a modulated lick that abruptly switches to an isolated, chugging tempo of the rhythm guitar. The whole band kicks back in with the chaotically crashing cymbals of the drums that lead into the hypnotizing first verse of the song. The lyrics, focusing on the entrapment of bad habits, are emphasized by the cyclical nature of the music – the looping patterns, the rising and falling of the beat, the lulling vocals. It all contributes to an overwhelming sense of an unbreakable routine. The song only goes through one round of the chorus before it breaks form with a staccato-type guitar lick that leads back into the original hook, but this time it’s layered with intense reverb, giving it a signature surf-rock sound. Once again the flow is halted by a marching drum beat, joined only by the vocals for the second verse. This pause, builds this kind of tension while the narrator contemplates the effects of his habits, keeping him up at 2 am constantly, and wanting to break out of his pattern.
After the second chorus, the song busts out a ripping guitar solo that smoothly slows to a more lethargically paced outro. It feels numbing and severely more sedated than the rest of the song. Could this be deciphered as succumbing to the “habit” once again? Lunar Hand popularly leaves their songs rather cryptic and open to interpretation. These kind of theatrics are typical in the band’s catalog and demand the listener to sit with each song thoroughly, though it’s not hard to be captivated by their sound. Luckily, you can see them live at one of their upcoming shows in SoCal! They’ll be playing our very own Phantom Fest on Sunday, October 27th and Chula Vista’s Bow Wow Haus on November 1st.