4 minute read

According to the numbers, more electric guitars have been sold in the past couple of years than in any other year since the instrument’s creation. So if you ever needed some clear proof that rock music is alive and well, there you have it.

Of course, you could also just check out OKC’s Lunar Division to see that rock is not only still kicking, but still going strong and still fulfilling its eternal duty of providing an outlet for straight-up, in-your-face energy and emotion.

Music and Film

with Brett Fieldcamp

By True Sky Credit Union

The band’s new album “Phantom,” dropping this Friday, May 13th, runs the rock ‘n’ roll gamut from high-octane headbangers to near-throwback power ballads, all in service of capturing something blunt, genuine, and almost entirely without pretense.

Right out of the gate, there’s an unmistakably “grunge” sound at play, and it’s difficult not to be put in mind of that 90’s alt-rock scene that would have been pouring out of radios all throughout the quartet’s formative years.

According to drummer Brandon Napoleon, that may not have been intended, but it’s always welcome.

“It’s really just what we grew up listening to,” he told me. “We really try not to have any intentions or constraints when it comes to songwriting. It’s just whatever comes out. That 90’s sound is just part of us.”

It’s more than just the specific distorted guitar tones and “Seattle sound” structures, though. It’s the whole attitude and philosophy behind the band’s music. 

There’s a raw and unpolished nature in the songwriting itself that recalls everything that listeners first responded to in Nirvana all those years ago. It wasn’t just the energy or the sneering anti-arena rock mentality, it was the marriage of punk rock “warts and all” presentation with the heaviness and mystery of 70s hard rock and the compellingly shy self-awareness of 80s college rock. That was grunge.

Lunar Division
Lunar Division

And all of those elements are on display throughout “Phantom,” as well, but never as an affectation. Never as a ham-fisted grunge-rocker Halloween costume. Lunar Division don’t wear their influences on their sleeves, because they don’t need to. They just take rock music and run with it down whatever avenue the songs demand.

“These are the most personal songs we’ve ever created,” Napoleon said. “It takes a good deal of trust to lay out an intimate life experience in song form and then for everyone to come on board and bring it to life.”

Intimacy isn’t exactly what you might expect from a band that aims so unflinchingly for hard rock, but it’s a surprisingly apt descriptor. These songs make no effort to hide the pains, confusions, or working class frustrations that spawned them, and they’re each all the better for it. 

“Break,” about the frazzled rush to make the most of your allotted personal time at work, could be a novelty track if not for the entirely earnest delivery (and the immediate relation from anyone that’s ever held down a dead end job.) It’s a perfect example of the kind of blatant honesty that Lunar Division are shooting for.

Special mention also goes to second track “Rays” for what might actually be a perfect alt-rock chorus. The way the band tightens up in the track’s opening moments, and how the vocal hook so expertly sets up the syllabically flawless “what do they know that we don’t?” should be enough to get any audience’s fists pumping en masse.

“Phantom” by Lunar Division drops Friday, May 13th, with an official album release show planned for May 14th at Ponyboy.

If you’ve been curious about what kind of power or legitimacy straight-up, old school rock music can have in 2022, you might want to be at that show.

Follow Lunar Division online at facebook.com/lunardivisionok, lunardivision.bandcamp.com, and @lunardivisionok on Instagram.

And … this!

Oklahoma City Museum of Art will be screening one of the undisputed masterpieces of filmmaking’s gritty, glorious golden age of the 1970s, Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation,” on May 13th and 14th.

If you only know Coppola as the director of “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” you owe it to yourself to see this 1974 masterwork of paranoia, intrigue, and disintegrating trust that he made in between those two better-known films.

Starring Gene Hackman at the height of his powers, and featuring some of the most creative and enthralling editing (both of picture and sound) ever put on screen, this film stands easily as one of the single best and greatest thrillers ever made.

The Noble Theater at OKCMOA is presenting “The Conversation” for just two days in gorgeous 35 mm. A must-see for any film fan.

Visit okcmoa.com for showtimes, tickets, and information.

Last Updated May 11, 2022, 7:20 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor