Each region that has drawn media attention in the past for musical innovation almost always a produces a backlash. Whether it be Liverpool,
Manchester, San Francisco, LA, Athens or Seattle, one thing becomes abundantly clear; music fans have a tendency toward fickleness and the afterthe-
fact years tend to produce that roll of the eyes among the musical elite denoting the cliché that said region is known to produce. Seattle
Washington's Poor Old Lu have tackled the uncanny feat of sidestepping the musical malaise of the early nineties. The airwaves at the time were
dominated by dirty-jeaned, scraggly haired punk induced seventies dirt rockers. One thing is for sure though, that particular phenomenon put the
sleepy, drizzly Northwest on the map. Poor Old Lu however, were one step ahead of the game by producing fresh innovative sounds recalling the
melody of 1980's new wave, the groove of classic rock and the attack of post-punk as early as 1990. Their contribution was a welcomed undertaking
in a town fed-up with the exploitation free-for-all media blitz.
After a half-decade hiatus, Poor Old Lu have reformed and produced their strongest material yet with their new recording Waiting Room slated for an
August release on Tooth and Nail Records. Vocalist Scott Hunter explains the meaning behind the albums title: "The Waiting Room is simply a description
of our time here on earth until the Lord comes back! The question raised, however, is "what are we doing with our time?" What is the focus of
our lives? What is our purpose? As we struggle, where do we turn? Whom do we cry out to? The resounding answer should be "the Lord". This is
the central theme throughout Waiting Room that shows the tension between the temporal and eternal, a struggle that results in the hope that only
Christ can bring.
In their time off since 1996, guitarist Aaron Sprinkle has become house engineer/producer at Tooth and Nail owned Compound studios', an opportunity
that has developed Sprinkle into a seasoned veteran in the control booth. The outcome is precise yet human sounding production and the attention
to detail in Poor Old Lu song writing craft shows the maturity of true artisanship. Sprinkle explains their artistic process: "Our musical relationships
[in the past] were based on recording, not playing live. The song isn't done when we finish writing it in the practice space, it's done in the studio
right there when we track it and then we figure out how to play it live." This is an ambitious approach indeed; one that few could execute with any
Not only are Poor Old Lu pro's in the studio, they have done their homework over the years and picked up all the right weaponry in musical influences
such as The Smiths, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and Daniel Amos. Vocalist Scott Hunter explains: "We were heavily influenced by bands like
U2, The Cure, Daniel Amos, The Beatles, and so on. Over the years our influences have certainly broadened, so Jesse [Sprinkle] (drums) brings a
very different set of influences than the rest of us -- probably more eclectic stuff, in some respects." The outcome of said influences is the honey-sweet
rasp of Hunter's vocals, Aaron Sprinkle's hook laden guitar bliss, his brother, Jesse Sprinkle's, meticulous attack on the drums, and bassist Nick
Barber's anchoring low end. The bands origins took place when Aaron and Scott found an affinity for the same tapes borrowed from older siblings. It
was these savored treasures that schooled Hunter and Sprinkle in their pre-teen years. After studious listening they began writing songs and making
home recordings. After it was realized that the "kid brother" Jesse had learned how to actually play the drums by emulating old heavy metal favorites,
Poor Old Lu was formed.
Poor Old Lu like all great bands have struggled through the growing pains of the common artistic experience. Said observation isn't, however to take
away from the crucial-ness of their music. On the contrary, there is a well focused, intelligent and youthful abandon present on the releases Mindsize,
Sin and Straight Six that showed them grappling with the mature musical influences in their repertoire while they connected with the larger American
rock landscape present at the time in the Northwest. The release of Waiting Room consummates their previous work with the wisdom that years of
experience bring. Though the songs on Waiting Room are more straight- forward in their approach than previous releases, they are without a doubt
their most musically mature.
Few bands can boast a committed fan base after years of absence. Even fewer bands can retain their artistic influence and vitality. Poor Old Lu has
been writing irresistible rock that stands the test of time for a decade now that keeps fans coming back for more. Poor Old Lu has put their time in
traveling the country on extensive national tours and when performing at the popular Cornerstone festival have overflowed the venue year after year.
With plans for some touring after the release of Waiting Room and another stop at this summers Cornerstone, Poor Old Lu are sure to kindle the spark
for past fans and whet the musical appetite of followers of the future.