Son Lux – Lanterns
Some albums wantonly thrust their virtues upon the listener; others guard them like a secret to be teased out over time. Lanterns, Ryan Lott’s third album as Son Lux, achieves both: on first encounter, the melodic intelligence and invention lassos attention, while a dozen listens later there’s still much to discover.
Ascribing genre is next to meaningless, though comparisons could be drawn with Lott’s s / s / s bandmate Sufjan Stevens: both are classically trained, and serve their abundant ambition with orchestral flourishes and imaginative, layered production. But Son Lux emphatically takes a path of his own making, mixing up haunted hip-hop beats and choral moans on Pyre; offering dystopian-edged mechanical minimalism with a lullaby tint on Enough of Our Machines; and rupturing a hushed digital waltz with heartbeat horns on Easy. In sum, Lanterns is the sound of a maverick talent edging ever closer to his full, stimulating potential. [Chris Buckle]