Since releasing their debut album two years ago, Lulu The Giant has matured in resounding ways finding a new groove built on the soulful foundation of its two core members.
What began as the musical venture of bassists/vocalist Rachael Shaner, has evolved into a cooperative creative outlet of Shaner and drummer Daniel Malone (Les Racquet). On their debut album, Shaner had sketched out all the tracks, bringing them to Malone and guitarist Alex Bazemore for arrangements.
As they stretched musically over the past two years, Shaner and Malone slowly shifted to playing as a duo, bringing the groups percussion perfection to the forefront. “Solid Gold,” set to be released Feb. 2, exactly two years after the debut album, highlights the duo’s percussion-based rootsy jazz through eight heavily produced tracks, featuring only the two musicians.
“When I write a song, I have an idea and write it on the bass,” Shaner said. “Then I am like, how do I gain the same energy of the lyrics that I wrote to come across in a way that still holds tension and holds that energy. It’s really hard to capture that. When I play it raw, when I play it live, I can create that space. But when you’re recording it, it’s totally different.”
Malone’s home studio opened the door to boundless creative ideas as the two handled every aspect of recording, mastering and producing the album, a departure from their debut album.
In the post-production mastering, Shaner’s voice was brought out front intentionally, as she courses over lyrics about love and life, with powerful jabs at misogyny and inequality. Each track is built on a percussive, rhythmic foundation that floats between time, allowing the melodies ample space to expand. Brand new musical adventures like vocal overdubs, piano and synth were added by the two, in an ever-expanding sonic universe of sound exploration.
“The underlining frequency and vibration of the bass has always been there,” Shaner said. “That has really crafted my voice. ‘Solid Gold,’ my voice is with the bass until the solos. That’s how it’s been. That’s the collaborative effort that’s always been there. I didn’t use to sing and then finding my voice with the bass. Knowing that I have that underlying foundation to give myself a platform for what I want to say. It’s metaphorical for what I am doing.”
Shaner and Malone’s relationship has evolved over the band’s time from musical to romantic and then back to a working musical connection, now reaching a new place where their creative unity is open and passionate.
“The relationship has had to take several steps up from an immature place,” Shaner said with a laugh. “We’ve been through a lot. Now being able to respect each other in a creative space and take out the romance part, but music is already so heavy and heartfelt, it’s right there. The passion people create music with is the same passion they love people with.
“We’ve taken steps up in our working relationship,” Shaner continued. “We’re both in great relationships. It’s a weird place to navigate and not a normal story. When you admire someone’s creative talent so much, there’s no way you can say, no, I am good — there’s no walking way from that. We haven’t perfected that, but I think we’ve gotten pretty damn close.”
For the release party on Feb. 2, they’ll be welcoming people to get out of Savannah proper. Two years ago, Lulu The Giant packed Trinity United Methodist. For this album, they’ll be shifting out to the chapel at Wesley Gardens Retreat on Burnside Island. The intimate and exclusive space will provide quite a different setting than the first release party.
“I wanted to take people away from the city,” Shaner said. “I want people to come and hang out. Trinity was awesome and a lot of people turned out and I didn’t get to talk to everybody and I really wanted to. Especially with this album. It’s more intentional. I want to hear what everyone has to say about it. I want to just be in community with anyone who wants to come out. You can make your own tea!”
Tea time starts at 5:30 p.m. with the show beginning around 6:30 p.m. They’ll have special surprise guests performing through the evening and with them.
“It’s like Oatland Island minus the bobcats,” Shaner summarized. “It’s gorgeous.”