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Lusus Naturae is Rochester's gem

Lusus Naturae'Witness the Death of Ugly'Anti-IndustryRecords

Lusus Naturae (pronounced Loo-sus Nuh-tour-A) is Latin for"freaks of nature." As their clever, unorthodox name might suggest,this Rochester rock trio is anything but ordinary.

Creative and refreshingly original, Lusus easily stands aloneatop the local music scene dominated by punk and death metal.However, with hard-hitting melodies and brutally honest lyrics wellbeyond their years, Lusus Naturae is capable of reaching the earsand minds of anyone willing to listen.

The CD's title, "Witness the Death of Ugly," sums up what thisCD is really about; killing everything ugly and replacing it withsomething beautiful.

"Lusus Naturae," the song from which they took their name, kicksoff the madness on "Witness the Death of Ugly." It starts with abouncing, carnival-like guitar part that eventually escalates intoa raging ruckus when guitarist/vocalist Lusy VanKirk (Eric Nelson)begins his genuine lyrical assault on society andself-satisfaction.

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The song then decelerates wonderfully toward the end when Lusycroons about his love for music, "Deep in my heart, I trulybelieve, more than anything, my love is perfect," before one of themany masterful guitar solos brings the track to a close.

Lusy further explains his lyrics via e-mail: "The lyrics arewhat I witness, for I am the eye and the hand that points out whatI believe is relevant. And anything that brings happiness andcomfort is relevant."

Bassist Perfect Tommy (Brett Berndt) adds a simply beautifulkeyboard arrangement to the melodically sound and lyricallyreflective "Planet 10." The sincerity in Lusy's vocals prove to bethe difference on the track, giving it more of a euphoric andthoughtful feel than a tasteless power ballad when drummer Egg Shen(Ross Roenigk) comes crashing in on the chorus. "Planet 10" isprobably the high point in terms of the plethora of emotions put towork on "Witness the Death of Ugly."

Other tracks such as "Mishaela," "Rainbows," "Pretty Things,""Dragons, and Jelly Beans" and "Hoax" are more forceful. They keepthe idea that music is art and showcase the lyrical and musicaltalents that make Lusus such a unique rock act.

But without a doubt, the album's most impressive track is"Panic." The 61⁄2-minute; marathon embodies the sheer musicianship,skillful songwriting and raw energy these Studio Academy graduatespossess.

"Panic" starts out with an epic guitar riff played quiteleisurely alongside some airy vocals like a Deftones or Radioheadtune. Soon enough, the song has wound itself into sometension-heavy guitar plucking before cutting out completely. Assoon as you think the song is over, the boys gradually lead youinto the dramatic ending when the epic guitar riff comes crashingback and beats you into a bloody pulp before casting you off intoanother song-concluding solo.

"Panic" is a song that should get fans excited for their futurebecause it illustrates perfectly the fact that this band has thepotential to be something really special.

Lusus Naturae is the whole package. Whether its through intenselive performances or this engrossing CD, their music has the powerto inspire.

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Angry, beautiful, enraged or cynical, these songs come straightfrom their collective soul. I hope this is only a peak into therabbit hole of some long and intriguing musical careers.

Support local music and go buy the CD by Rochester's trulyoriginal band. It is available at shows and through their Web siteat www.lusus.tk.

Adam Wiltgen is a senior at Fillmore Central High School. Torespond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, categoryTEEN (8336); write Teen Beat, Post-Bulletin, P.O. Box 6118,Rochester, MN 55903-6118 or send e-mail toteenbeat@postbulletin.com.

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