Santa Rosa indie pop band Lungs and Limbs have a mantra they live by: Make it work. They even named their self-built DIY recording studio, carved out of an old horse barn on the outskirts of Occidental, Make It Work Studios.
Born in that studio, the band’s dazzling debut EP,
Lifelike, is released next month. This week, Lungs and Limbs offer a taste of the record with the release of their first single, “Signs of Life,” on Oct 9.
Writing songs together for the last four years, vocalist and keyboardist Karina Rousseau and guitarist Nick Tudor went through a few lineups before landing on bassist Chris Casey and drummer Matt Power two years ago.
“Our idea was to do pop music from the beginning,” says Tudor. “Just what we thought that meant was a little different at first.”
“It was also a little more singer-songwriter-based,” adds Casey. “As we played together, it became more about the production of the music.”
That focus on production came about when the band took over the barn and created Make It Work Studios. Tudor, self-taught and meticulous in his process, is the brains behind the recording.
“That’s really how we started developing our sound,” says Rousseau. “And I think we achieved what we set out to do.”
Over the course of the EP’s six tracks, the band goes on an interstellar musical journey, piloted by Rousseau’s enchanting vocals and propelled by a steady, pulsing pop sensibility throughout.
“I just saturated myself in all
of the modern production that I love,” says Tudor, citing artists
like St. Vincent and alt-J as inspirations. Conversely, he also listened to records he knew he did not want to emulate.
“I do love a lot of lo-fi records, but we decided it wasn’t what we wanted our modern music to sound like,” says Tudor.
The single, “Signs of Life,” is a grabber, catching the ear with an infectious guitar hook and upbeat rhythm. Rousseau’s voice soars as if it’s in zero gravity with plenty of poppy oohs and aahs in the chorus to sing along with.
Rosseau says the electronics-heavy track “Kaleidoscope” came about after reading Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. Indeed, the entire Lifelike EP resonates with a sci-fi mystique that’s both radio-ready and atmospheric—though not necessarily our own atmosphere.