Thursday, October 08, 2020

LANY - Album Review

LANY has always been one to embrace those late summer nights. Their love of cool, minimalist vocals with smooth production and cutting lyricism fits perfectly on a late night drive, a sunset in the background. On mama’s boy, however, there's perhaps too many sunsets. Falling back on generic love-song lyrical content, which works well in Heart Won’t Let Me - a building, layered track with ruminative chords which has true potential - and Paper, tracks like Sharing You and Good Guys can feel lacklustre, and it would have benefitted the trio to have been more thorough with editing. Perhaps this disconnect is due to the fact that Malibu Nights - LANY’s previous album - had such lyrical cohesion, due to lead vocalist and song-writer Paul Jason Klein only wanting “one person in the whole world” to hear it, that it is almost jarring at first to hear LANY lean back on their Nashville roots more, and produce a more spacious album.

Mama’s Boy is, from the outset, far more expansive lyrically than any of LANY’s previous work. You is reminiscent of classic 16th Avenue Nashville song-writing; a widescreen ode to intimacy erupting into a stadium filler chorus, topped with emotionally charged poetics, whilst If This Is The Last Time is a bittersweet family based track complete with on the nose marching drums and a shiny pop electric guitar infused bridge. Resonating throughout the whole album is the solid theme of genuine heartfelt emotion - if Malibu Nights was LA glitz, drama and heartbreak, Mama’s Boy is coming right back home… and realising you never should have left. 

Just because LANY have somewhat dampened their LA sound for this album, doesn’t mean they don’t have some ethereal bops; combining their signature meticulous alt-pop with gospel backing vocals on I Still Talk To Jesus - an introspective ballad with lyrics that toy between self-deprecating and heartfelt (with “I’ve got a past more stained than the glass,” being a standout lyric). Paper, Sad and Nobody Else are equally as gracefully executed, easily all vying for the best track on this album for different reasons. Paper has a lilting guitar, with heartbreaking lyrics “but we lay in bed and make love to our phones” centre stage amongst the natural and intimate production, this is a track which speaks to raw sensibility without being underwhelming. Sad, however, is an airy, nostalgic soundscape - full of shatteringly delicate home truths of everything you wish you had said or did in reaching sonic spaces. It is, however, folky closer - complete with a flugelhorn - Nobody Else that steals the show, speaking to the growth LANY has had as artists. This track is full of compassionate acoustics and small romanticism that is at the heart of true, unconditional love -  it is a sun-kissed whisper of promise for brighter days and is an unexpected, but perfect, ending to a powerfully emotive body of work. 

Ultimately, perhaps LANY’s mama’s boy doesn’t have too many sunsets at all, they’re just embracing the ones we haven’t yet had the leap of faith to reach for just yet.

Chloe Johnson

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