Post-punk icons Lol Tolhurst and Budgie unleash a ferociously fresh album “Los Angeles” featuring a star-studded lineup. Qobuzissime!

For those unfamiliar, a Qobuzissime is the highest honour bestowed upon an album by the international music team here at Qobuz. To be nominated for the award, the album must be a debut or sophomore album, must contribute something new and exciting to the world of music, and of course, must be in 24-bit Hi-Res. This collaborative album from two of post-punk’s biggest legends - Lol Tolhurst (The Cure) and Budgie (Siouxsie and the Banshees) - offers a fresh take on a genre that has developed immensely since their hay-day, therefore making this the ideal Qobuzissime!

Los Angeles (feat. James Murphy)

Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee

Cure co-founder/former drummer Lol Tolhurst and Siouxsie and the Banshees beat-keeper Budgie first met in 1979 when their respective bands toured together. In recent years, the duo started hosting a post-punk podcast called Curious Creatures that eventually led to a musical collaboration with the producer Jacknife Lee. Originally envisioned as an instrumental album, Los Angeles evolved over time to include guest vocalists like LCD Soundsytem’s James Murphy, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Lonnie Holley, along with musicians such as U2 guitarist the Edge and harpist Mary Lattimore.

In some ways, Los Angeles delivers exactly what you would expect from a collaboration between Tolhurst and Budgie: rhythm-heavy songs with hypnotic grooves indebted to Krautrock, electro and post-punk. Synthesizers zap like brain synapses on “Everything and Nothing” in between dizzying spurts of repetitive drum patterns; on the propulsive, Edge-featuring “Train With No Station,” beatific recurring melodies peek through bustling electronic static like the sun peeking through clouds.

Other guest stars are a more recognizable presence. The songs on which Gillespie appears (unsurprisingly) sound like Primal Scream’s various guises—”This Is What It Is (To Be Free)” channels Screamadelica’s gospel-tinged catharsis, while “Ghosted at Home” hews toward Vanishing Point’s darker electro. Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock contributes frenetic vocals to the danceable (and aptly named) “We Got to Move.” And Murphy contributes anguished yelps and croons to the throttling title track, which resembles a more adventurous LCD Soundsystem.

But Los Angeles shines when lesser-known voices have their place in the spotlight. Pan Amsterdam is striking on the minimalist, jazzy hip-hop standout “Travel Channel,” while Starcrawler’s Arrow de Wilde helms a slab of scorching gothic-blues rock. And Holley presides over the rhythm-heavy experimental track “Bodies” like a fire-and-brimstone preacher before Mary Lattimore takes the song out with some bewitching harp. It’s unsurprising given the pedigree of the artists involved—but Los Angeles is a ferociously fresh-sounding take on familiar sounds that lingers long after the music ends.