AS I LISTEN to Lubec guitarist and vocalist Eddie Charlton describe the band's namesake—a New England coastal town—I can almost escape the sweltering summer heat, transported to the foggy shoreline and scenic lighthouse in my mind.
The town of Lubec, Maine, is the easternmost point in the United States. It was also the final destination of a road trip that Charlton took just after finishing high school.
"It was the first moment where I felt I had really gone somewhere on my own," he explains. "I still hold on to that feeling where you are just old enough to go out and get overwhelmed by the world."
Lubec's keyboardist/vocalist Caroline Jackson is quick to agree. She compares that road trip to the move she and Charlton made from Richmond, Virginia, to Portland in 2011.
"Like anything, it took time to figure it out. Jumping into a new scene was a little overwhelming at first," Jackson says.
With a handful of material from the Richmond incarnation of Lubec, the two began rebuilding the band on the West Coast. After a year of searching, they met guitarist Nick Laurich and drummer Matt Dressen, two musicians whose vision meshed seamlessly with theirs. The newly formed quartet immediately set out writing the dense, braided material that would make up Lubec's first proper full-length album, The Thrall. And after about a year of playing and writing together, the group gelled so tightly that they moved into a house together.
Nestled at the base of Mount Tabor, the home came equipped with a spacious basement practice space that provided Lubec with the perfect setting to weave together the swirling harmonies, counter-melodies, and rich textures that make The Thrall such an engaging album.
"It made it really easy for a couple of us to go down and work on specific parts, and that ended up making it more of a collaborative effort," Jackson says of the impact the move had on the band's writing process.
Dressen echoes that cooperative approach. "We try to focus on our individual skillsets and then synthesize them into something unique."
The idea of limitless horizons, from Charlton's original road trip to the tip of Maine, is alive and well on The Thrall. The theme of unbound potential informs a large chunk of the album's lyrical content, and the subject soaks its way down throughout the instrumental framework.
"We use the brush strokes of noisy, guitar-driven indie rock, but our real focus is on exploring the weirder arrangement aspects," Charlton says.
It's this ability to merge exploratory compositional elements alongside the blistering sounds of '90s noise-pop bands that inspired Lubec that gives the songs on The Thrall the ability to steer a listener in unexpected directions. Dressen sums up the approach nicely: "There's comfort in that feeling of familiarity, but the excitement comes from changing the course."
Everything keeps coming back to the feeling of contemplating the unknown. Nostalgia fuels the journey, but Lubec have become confident in blazing new trails of their own.