Son Lux – Lanterns (Joyful Noise Recordings)

Son Lux – Lanterns (Joyful Noise Recordings)

It seems only right that Lanterns is released the day after British Summer Time ends for this is a record whose aesthetic spirit is steeped in the past. With the use of lavish neo-classical instrumentation, sub-gospel choirs and its innate orchestral sense, Ryan Lott’s third full album speaks to us of a golden age of sound. Yet this proves to be merely a historical sleight of hand, for when proper account is taken of the music’s beating synthetic heart and fibrous electronic soul this is surely music of the future.

Under the sobriquet Son Lux, the 24 year old American has this time round assembled a disparate cast of guests and collaborators including Gem Club’s Leva Berberian, who features on ‘Alternate World’ and ‘Ransom’, Lily & Madeleine, a sister duo from Indianapolis, on the album’s lead single ‘Lost It To Trying’ and Peter Silberman of the Antlers and David (DM) Stith who both add their considerable vocal weight to ‘We Are Rising’ and stitched their multitude of voices into the very fabric of his colossal vision. The end result is a deeply complex feat of modern sonic engineering.

Working within a very broad framework of the concept of the popular song, Lott explores the infinite possibilities of sound using a phalanx of live instruments – including guitar, saxophone and drums – synthesisers and electronic programming. What in less capable hands could quite easily slide into a morass of musical theorising and over-intellectualisation is constantly kept alive by his self-discipline and a firm grasp on the songs’ melodies and infrastructure. Lanterns may well have arrived at a time when the clocks have just gone back but this could quite easily turn out to be one of the albums of the year.

Rating: ★★★★☆

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.