With Get Better Lemuria helped us wipe away emo’s closed-minded pop era | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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With Get Better Lemuria helped us wipe away emo’s closed-minded pop era


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During emo’s pop phase in the 2000s, pointed, unambiguous sexism was unfortunately welcome, but as the bands propagating that message began gasping their last breaths at the end of the decade, Buffalo trio Lemuria emerged from the underground with Get Better (Asian Man). Not only did the album hint at emo’s groundswell of creative rejuvenation, but it also suggested the genre could be more than a boys’ club. The glum and forceful “Lipstick” is particularly evocative. Atop a wistful melody singer-guitarist Sheena Ozzella lingers over everyday details that can be harbingers of a crumbling relationship. Her sweetly intoned vocals reflect feelings of passion and longing as she sings, “When you wear lipstick / I always want to kiss you / But you use your lipstick / As an excuse not to kiss me.” Lemuria’s narrative ambiguity is as strong as their grasp of pop dynamics, and their choices reverberate beyond their songs. The brief sketches of the characters in “Lipstick”—and Ozzella’s choice to sing from the perspective of someone who doesn’t use cosmetics (“Maybe I should wear lipstick too”)—represent a challenge to heteronormative behavior. Tonight Lemuria play Get Better in its entirety to celebrate the album’s new reissue and its tenth anniversary—technically it came out in 2008, but any excuse to listen to this LP is a good one.   v

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