The catharsis of Lungbutter | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

The catharsis of Lungbutter

The Montreal trio offers tight and jagged metal-influenced music on its long-awaited debut, Honey.

The catharsis of Lungbutter
Thomas Boucher
Lungbutter approached music as “let’s make some sounds and see how they turn out.”

Lungbutter w/Glazey, Meat Substitute
Thursday, June 29, 6:30pm
Lost & Found, 2383 Agricola Street

Honey may be the first LP from Montreal post-punk trio Lungbutter, but drummer Joni Sadler says the record has been a long time coming. 

Back in 2013, Sadler was new to the scene in Montreal and got to know vocalist Ky Brooks and guitar player Kaity Zozula through mutual friends and going to shows. Before long, the three had hit it off and started writing "sprawling metal-influenced jams"—a big sound that Sadler says they stumbled into without too much thought.  

Lungbutter's progression from those first sparks has been thoughtful without being overwrought—it's tempting to call it a refinement, but that word doesn't quite capture how thrillingly raw this music is. "Over time, the songs have gotten a lot shorter and a lot tighter and more jagged," says Sadler. "So I think it's been a natural least, me personally, I didn't really go into it thinking 'OK this is the kind of music we want to make,' it was just like, 'Let's make some sounds and see how they turn out.'" 

There are still hints of that earlier sound on Honey, which arrived via Constellation Records this spring. The album closer, "Veneer," hangs out in a viscous sludge of guitar for over three minutes before drums and vocals enter the mix; earlier, on an updated recording of the early Lungbutter track "Vile," Brooks speaks the title like it's an incantation, over walls of distorted guitar. 

But beyond a few more languid stretches, Honey moves quickly through its various muses. The sharp "Depanneur Sun" is an almost stream-of-consciousness tale of ennui in the city. On "Solar," Brooks daydreams about hospitality and environmentalism—about taking care of the earth as we take care of each other—over a seesawing noise. When Brooks asks us on "Solar" to "make it better for one another," they speak to our many shared responsibilities and the relationships that bind us together in community, musical or otherwise. 

Chatting about Lungbutter's history, Sadler reminds me that these communities are facing increasing pressure from outside forces. Scenes in places like Montreal and Halifax have always been in flux, with new people and new ideas arriving all the time. Still, arts-unfriendly policies, gentrification and a shifting musical economy have made it more and more difficult to support and sustain a DIY community.

It feels fitting that Lungbutter's next Halifax show—Saturday at Lost and Found with locals Glazey and Meat Substitute—is being presented by Not Your Boys Club, a standout example of inclusive, community-minded organizing in Halifax's music scene. 

Sadler says the band's slow-burning progression has allowed it to be sustainable and stay grounded in the community that brought her together with Brooks and Zozula in the first place. 

"It felt nice being able to kind of take our time with it, and not feel pressure or not feel rushed to make a record or prioritize the band 100 percent over everything else in our's led to a nice sense of balance, which makes it feel a little bit more sustainable." 

Outside of the band, Sadler works full-time and Brooks and Zozula are academics. "We have one foot in [the band] and one foot in other parts of our lives in Montreal," says Sadler. Lungbutter is important to them—and its music demands to be taken seriously—but it isn't everything. 

"It's nice having the band as something we can all return to and just enjoy being a part of," says Sadler. "It's a good creative outlet. And we get to play really loud, so that's pretty cathartic."

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