It can be weird finding an artist several albums into their career. You feel like you’ve missed out, and you often don’t have the necessary context to appreciate the new music and how it has evolved. I feel this way about Lustre’s new record A Thirst for Summer Rain. What is certainly a fantastic work, I think, may be even better based on what came before it. The album released on August 26th through Nordvis Records.
Lustre is a project from Swedish musician Nachtzeit. He has been making music for a long time, at least since 2009. The sound of Lustre, apparently, was dark and ambient black metal, specifically in the 90s strain. At one time, Lustre was about harrowing musicality and nighttime mood. That has changed.
On A Thirst for Summer Rain, Lustre still features an ambient darkness, but the music is much brighter and more keyboard-driven. This instrumental work is full of rich melodies, ones that feel cautious, patient, and purposeful. I noted again and again how Nachtzeit would present a simple melody to begin a track, and then build upon that foundation slowly and skillfully until reaching certain thematic and musical heights. There are waves of doomy guitar riffs, and some slight harsh vox on a couple tracks, but the music is primarily colorful and hopeful here.
I really like that sort of sound. I like gorgeous melodies flirting with rushing darkness. I like a little quirk in the mix, too, and distant, searing harsh vocals to add a certain accent. I also like how the music can swing from cheerful and nostalgic to cloudy and stormy within the same piece. Slight variations or octave changes have a major effect here, showing Nachtzeit’s mastery of subtlety and memory. There is much more going on here than you might detect at first listen.
A Thirst for Summer Rain feels like a striving for goodness and peace. It feels like hope for all things in harmony. Perhaps this music is meant to express that innate desire within us all. It surges and withdraws, back and forth, like the tide; the music can feel full and layered, and then sparse and delicate the next. And it takes your mind with it as it flows to and fro in the vastness of its notes. It brings peace and gentle splendor in its sincerity and eloquence.
The album has only four tracks, and so I like to think of it as one single piece. It clocks in at about 33 minutes, and I think this is good because all four tracks sound similar. However, each track is like a piece to a puzzle, and so each is vital to the sound of the album overall.
I don’t think picking favorites means anything on this album. That said, I am drawn to “Quiescence” and “Thirst” especially. I like how the former feels so small at first, almost stagnant (as its name suggests), and soon begins to flourish as more layers are added. I also like how “Thirst” brings a mighty surge right from the beginning. It has some beautifully rendered harsh vocals that create a contrast between light and dark; while the melody makes the song feel natural and organic, the harsh vocals add a gritty, primal edge. Both seem to express a certain purity that my heart recognizes. These sounds convey different sides to the same emotion, and I think that is brilliant.
I have my work cut out for me. I really want to explore Lustre’s back catalogue, especially if it is as good as this new record. A Thirst for Summer Rain helps quench the heart’s yearning, if only for a little while. I love how lovely and tender the whole thing is, and unashamedly so. And I like its darker side and how it plays with everything else. There are many facets to this record, and I feel like I’m only just discovering them.
Find Lustre online: