“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” This is a quote that is attributed to Roger Miller although there is a debate that rages on as to weather or not it came from Bob Dylan or Bob Marley. While the author is a bit anonymous, the sentiment is still analogous to this debut record from Lost Lander. This quote seems pertinent because Lost Landers debut album, DRRT, seems to be the kind of album that you feel, not just passively listen to, once it is playing. Now, if you are of the nature to just “get wet”, then perhaps this is the time for you to come in from the rain, take a load off and put the needle to the groove of Lost Lander’s new album.
Matt Sheehy, Sarah Fennell, Dave Lowensohn and Patrick Hughes are the four members of the Portland, Oregon band that goes by Lost Lander. The band was formed in 2011, and since their time together, the band has released their debut album, which was an album that could just as easily be called their debut piece of art because of the beautiful and well thought out construction. Sheehy is the songwriter, lead singer and forester among the group. Sarah Fennell suits up on the keys, Dave Lowensohn gets masterful on the bass, all while Patrick Hughes gets crafty with the sticks on the drums. This quartet, while possessing true Pacific Northwest quirkiness, is a bit of a force to be reckoned with on the music scene. Lost Lander may not appear like a band that can truly rock and roll, but when the music starts, it’s clear that looks are not only deceiving… they’re irrelevant.
Whether the song is an instrumental, involves harmonies, or has just the faint echo of a lyric, Lost Lander manages to make constructive use of the entire length of each track. The music is layered underneath the lyrics in a way that creates an environment for Sheehy’s words to establish a presence. “I had it once, but I lost the trail/ I might get better but I won’t get well/ those were the cards for me”. Sheehy sings these lyrics on, Kangaroo, the fourth track on the record. The lyrics alone carry their own story, but when coupled with Sheehy’s voice and the production, the song manages to establish a presence and take on a life all it’s own.
Lost Lander’s Wonderful World
It’s this very presence that Lost Lander seems to strategically manipulate in order to achieve a more fantastical musical experience. So much so, that on the track “Dig (how it feels to lay in the soft light)”, the listener can feel the story come alive when the beat starts kicking out of the speakers. You find the same bold production on “Kangaroo” as well, and both songs carry with them a little bit of a nod to the Black Keys. A little heavy and edgy, but it is weaved so sparingly and so well into the songs that the final product is beautiful. The effortless integration of the eclectic sounds ranging from acoustic to electronic to orchestral throughout the entire album amplifies the experience of this record.
It is this same seamless and fluidity of the song construction that seems to naturally evoke movement out of the listener. Even when the album is playing just as background noise; feet and hands start tapping, just rocking to the rhythm, melodies, beat and vocals. This is a welcome side effect because the beat has the ability to practically spread throughout the body, and this is where Lost Lander demonstrates their musical prowess. Tracks 2, 8 and 11 are the only songs on the album that exceed two to three verses in length. This is impressive because the opening track, “Cold Feet”, has two verses and a recording time of four minutes and six seconds. They manage to make all four minutes and six seconds enjoyable and infectious, while also creating something that is more than just an auditory delight. This music is designed to travel through your ears, wrap itself around your spinal column and render your arms and legs as appendages totally separate from your body. The band gives so much of themselves, on every second of every track, and it becomes apparent very early on that the listener has the opportunity to become just as invested.
However, if likening the band and their sound to someone or something else is perceived as helpful, they claim on their bandcamp page that their songs are “alternative orchestral synth rock”. The words “electro” and “pop-infused” also come to mind when attempting to classify this particular sound, but hold off on the classification until after the album has done at least one heavy rotation. DRRTdraws the listener in with its methodical and conscientious production and it should be experienced, not just listened to. So throw on the headphones, sit back and turn the volume up and find out whether you are one who can feel the rain.
Written by Hallie Jay
OurVinyl | Contributor