St. Lucia Shares ‘ St. Lucia: Early Demos’ EP; Debut Album Turns 10 Years Old
November 17, 2023 BY Bailey Vigliaturo
Ten years ago, synth-pop stalwarts St. Lucia released their highly anticipated and critically acclaimed debut LP When The Night, featuring fan favorites “Elevate,” “All Eyes on You,” and “Closer Than This.” As the band reflected on the past decade and went through their archives, they uncovered dozens of demos from this era that were never finished, nor released. As a special treat to their longtime fans, St. Lucia have selected ten of their favorite demos from these archives to release on their new compilation, St. Lucia: Early Demos via Nettwerk.
Led by husband-and-wife duo, South Africa-born Jean-Philip Grobler and Germany-born Patti Beranek, St. Lucia burst onto the scene over ten years ago with their shimmery synth-driven pop grooves, which carried over to a plethora of incredible live shows across their illustrious career. It was in the fall of 2013 when the then Brooklyn-based outfit released their debut effort, When The Night. The album featured the band’s unique brand of dreamy, nostalgic pop while drawing out melodic bravado and euphoric energy that was unparalleled at the time. The record was produced by Grobler himself, with additional production and mixing from Chris Zane (Passion Pit, The Walkmen), Rich Costey (Muse, Foo Fighters) and Andy Baldwin (Bjork, Elle King).
Fast forward to today and four full-length records deep, St. Lucia’s 10-track Early Demos project doesn’t just feel like vintage St. Lucia but strangely enough these tunes emerge as relevant as ever. Apart from the obvious raw recordings and being unmastered demos (only the song “Poet” was updated and finished by the band prior to release) and the sheer fact these songs were developed in a different era, they still feel immediate, enchanting, and inventive. “Comfort” is coated in a minimalistic ambience, traveling down a sonically retro-futurist sonic pathway, propelling deeply reflective tendencies for listeners. Other tracks like “Landslide” and “You Know Too Well” lean on a multitude of bright, lively textures, but still evoke an excess of vibes one can’t possibly deny. “I Hit The Bottom” closes things out with dry-pulsing beats, subdued textures, and backed by Beranek’s comely vocals. Grobler sings with unflinching honesty and the velveteen vocals offer pure escapism from the circadian world sick news. If anything, these demos are a stark reminder on why fans fell in love with the band from the beginning but can also serve as a gateway into the band’s remarkable discography for newcomers.
Frontman and founder Jean-Philip Grobler shares this on St. Lucia’s Early Demos EP, “I cannot deny that it feels (at minimum) a little surreal that it’s the 10-year anniversary of our debut album, ‘When The Night.’ Around the start of the year when I realized the occasion was coming up, I decided to finally go through and back up the original hard drives that the album was recorded on, which I’d never done. During the craziness of life and touring etc. after the album came out, we had to move studios, and at some point, I decided I didn’t care about my old files and the album was out and why would I need the files so who cares, so I simply disposed of the old, barely functional computer. Fortunately, I have friends who are far more resourceful than I am, and so my friend and collaborator Andy Baldwin salvaged my computer and the hard drives inside. A few years later, he gave them to me. And so there they sat in my closet, and in the shipping container as we moved continents to Europe, and then again in my closet for years because I was too scared to plug the drives in and face the inevitable.
But finally, the time came to do it, and despite having been rained on, lying on a trash heap, and who knows what else, the drives still worked. Phew. As I started going through the old song sessions like an old man looking through old family photo albums, I must admit I got a little emotional. That period of our lives was one of the most transformative, going from dreaming about it to performing our songs on stages all over the world. Over the years Patti (my now wife & member of St. Lucia) & I will occasionally go back and listen to some of the old unreleased demos and comment ‘oh man such and such song is so good I wish people could hear it’, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to share some of these raw, unfinished demos with the world.”
Renowned for their energetic live shows, St. Lucia celebrated the 10-year anniversary for When The Night with a pair of sold-out underplays at NYC’s Music Hall of Williamsburg in October and LA’s The Echo earlier this month. St. Lucia will return in 2024 with new music leading into their fifth LP and more live shows.
St. Lucia: Early Demos EP is available on DSPs here: https://stlucia.ffm.to/earlydemosep
“Landslide” visualizer is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYqhQlLEBpU
“St. Lucia: Early Demos” EP Tracklisting:
- Stop Pulling Me Away
- You Know Too Well
- What’s The Difference
- An Earthquake
- Hang Tight
- I Hit The Bottom