Ludic: The Best Band You’re Not Listening To

“A glistening and playful package of explosive pop … these up-and-comers demand your attention.”

It is not difficult to pinpoint why Ludic is so likeable. Fronted by Calpurnia guitarist Ayla Tesler-Mabe, the act breaks the mould of young Vancouver bands by avoiding moody soft-rock in favour of desperately vibrant, colourful, and groove-based pop-funk anthems. Ludic’s name is very fitting, the group toying with a number of influences and funnelling them into a glistening and playful package of explosive pop, and, following their tour support of acts like Snarky Puppy and Brittany Howard, it should be evident that these up-and-comers demand your attention.

The group’s first single ‘My Love’ was a breath of fresh air on release, lulling the audience into its verses with a spacey guitar lead and lurching bass part before implementing jazz chords to complement non-sequitur vocal notes — and take the track out of the territory of regularity. Indeed, genres are blended effectively here and across the band’s material, with ‘My Love’ principally functioning as a summery pop jam but with added musical depth that aids a feeling of simmer. The guitar chords that pierce the chorus midway through its hook are enjoyably jarring and give the tune a sense of spontaneity and carefreeness which can be felt throughout, with Tesler-Mabe’s chorusing of “my love!” acting as a real ear-worm even with its twisting melody.

‘2 Myself’ continues the shimmering guitars and twinkling ride cymbals of their first track, with a bigger climax and some electronic instrumentation to litter the backdrop of the hook. The delayed, syncopated drum stabs in the chorus are fun spins on the tune’s pacing, and I love the sonically concentrated production; the instruments and vocals feel a part of one big mixing pot, helping raise the size of the track’s bigger-sounding moments. ‘Call Me’ is a rager, with verse synth flutters accentuating vocal emphasis to great effect and a bridge section whose guitar-work is ripped straight from the Eddie Hazel playbook; the pastiche here is brilliant and works highly well in the context of the song to merge inspirations and styles. The feeling of abandon and ease is felt with a chorus that builds throughout its place in the track, culminating with a fuzzy riff breakdown that comes out of nowhere yet totally makes sense.

‘Phone,’ their fourth release, hits hard. The unyieldingly groovy fusion of thick snares and soupy bass in the verses (brothers Rhett and Max Cunningham) bolsters the joyously silly lyrical concept which plays with the spiralling anxiety that might come with losing one’s phone. I love the harmonised guitar licks that accentuate the pocket up until the chorus, exploding with a completely killer lead vocal that features a brilliantly built-down melody and guitar parts which accent the drama of the hook with adroitness and magnitude. Oh, and there’s the Gilmour-esque guitar solo which fills out a spacious bridge section — need I say more?

The general visual aesthetic of the band speaks for itself. The use of colour and bright costume in their videos – and general vibrancy of the art that comes with their releases – is compelling, especially in conjunction with the music, and only helps to further the styles that the group amalgamates within their music. I love the dreamy soul-pop of their latest single ‘Want U’ crossed with the moody, colour-juxtaposing video, or the simplified profile stills in the music video for ‘My Love’ eventually transitioning into aerial shots of the band dancing through the street. Personality oozes. For a group as (relatively) new and young as Ludic, the devil-may-care, colourful recklessness of their vibe is enthralling and authentically exciting.

With only five releases to their name, the trio has a lot of growing room and space to continue to experiment. In my mind, they’re very promising, yet already established, with delightful pop-fusion anthems and a great grasp on melody and playful groove, and wield a compelling, convincingly silly and genuinely refreshing sense of animation. I anticipate any forthcoming, more full-length projects from Ludic — it might just be something special.

You can listen to the band’s latest release, ‘Want U,’ below.

Header image: Royal Artist Group/Ludic

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