Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Here's what my mind's doing right now, besides sweating itself thin in an early season heat wave: It's picturing close to a thousand disco balls shooting mad, dancing lights and colors into a batty spazz-out. It's then following that episode with a dimming of all the lights, into something more conducive to slow-dancing and feeling the press of a worked up body close to another worked up body. What it's going on to picture next is another kind of freakout that involves bright, white lights trying to blind for life, chopping up movements and making everything - in this dream-like state - appear as if it's sparkling and highlighted. All of this is because of the Minneapolis electro-pop band Lookbook, a two-piece that reminds me of the times spent as a high schooler trying to find something good to do on a Friday or Saturday night and eventually settling for, on occasional nights, heading down to an undeveloped part of town that sits butted up against a trucking depot and drop spot for 18-wheelers - a large space of real estate, overgrown with unruly weeds and darker than midnight at nine in the evening. The place happened to be a dance club/hangout for teenagers called Off-Limits and it was built out in a decrepit warehouse building that must have housed homeless men, all kinds of broken glass and pigeons prior to someone coming in, painting all of the walls and stairwells black and splattering them liberally with glow-in-the-dark paint to work with the black lights, believing that high school kids would flock and spend their parents' money. It was a place, not necessarily of last resort - okay, it was a place of last resort, but the anticipation would always lie in the possibility that this was the night when that girl that you liked from class was going to be there, and something crazy and mashed up (or Operation Ivy or Primus) was going to thump through the speakers and somehow, something was going to happen. Lookbook, made up of Maggie Morrison and Grant Cutler, breathe a similar sort of life into their own music, one that feeds on the power of not knowing what the night's going to feel like, but throwing your hands up in the air and letting the hair get wild anyway. It's about dragging yourself out to that dark and creepy warehouse, up the stairs and then just letting go in the strobes. We're taken back to the days when Heart and Olivia Newton John were blowing up the charts, but hearing them again with Van Halen riffs and hip-hop beats gathering together with Morrison's poppy vocals. It gives us music that is meant for getting physical to. It's for 1980s exercising to, wearing headbands to, running out the door in shirts that hang droopily off and over your shoulders, tucked into acid-washed jeans and hoping that Cyndi Lauper comes on the radio the second you get into your car. You'll sing as loud as you can and you'll move everything you have as it all strikes you and strikes you.