“I’ve always fallen head first into any relationship,” begins LANY frontman Paul Klein, discussing the emotions that fuel LANY’s passionate, hazy and enthralling debut album. “I only know two speeds: 0 and 100.”
The topic of accelerating from 0 to 100 might just as easily be applied to his band’s extraordinary rise. When Klein and bandmates Les Priest and Jake Goss put their first song online in 2014 they had no social followers, no fans and no photos; within weeks their play counts were leaping up exponentially, and their take on modern alternative-pop was building up a steady following.
Before moving to Los Angeles - Paul, Les and Jake originally met through (rather than at) Nashville’s Belmont University. They were there at different times but knew each other as familiar faces on the Nashville music circuit. “When we lived there it was still a relatively small town and you'd see the same faces the whole time,” Paul recalls. “I'd know who played guitar or who played drums — and I knew Jake, for instance, was THE drummer.”
By the time LANY formally released the first in a series of EPs the band had established their own lane on music’s crowded highway. Billboard praised the group’s “lush, luxuriant” alternative sound when ‘I Loved You’ dropped; by 2016, and the release of Where The Hell Are My Friends, The Line Of Best Fit were praising LANY’s music for its “swooning melange of gilded vocals, spidery riffs, and dusky synths”. “Apart from sounding amazing overall,” Nylon added, “the trio go the extra mile in everything they do, including curating their website and merchandise to fit their minimalist aesthetic.”
Much of the music that propelled them to multi-million-stream success was recorded out of aux sockets. “It was very do it yourself,” Klein smiles. “We were led by conviction and instinct — writing and recording simultaneously. We didn't demo anything. We had zero followers on Twitter, SoundCloud or Instagram. We just decided: let's make a band, stick the music online ourselves, and see what happens.”
Flashforward to the summer of 2017 and the band have now finished a debut album whose recording — vocals and instruments captured through smartphone apps, songs recorded as they were written then pulled together on antiquated old PC software — reflects the spontaneity and impulsiveness of the love stories bursting out of every song.
While it might feel counterintuitive for a band so rooted in modern music discovery to craft an album when headlines all around us scream about the album format being dead, LANY see this album as a statement. “I understand our fanbase and I know they're starving for a bigger body of work to get lost in,” Paul explains. “We're creating a world of LANY that people exist in, identify with and discover themselves through, and you can't do that exclusively in a four-track EP. The pendulum always settles. Right now it might have swung over to ‘let's release a song a month! Let's never release albums!’ But that pendulum will always find its way back to a centre where an album, for all eternity, will have some sort of value. Maybe even the most value. I mean I could be wrong. Who knows? We're all guessing aren't we?”
For a shot in the dark, LANY’s album is something of a triumph, underpinned by distinctive, wistful lyrics that continue to set LANY apart from their peers. “It wasn't a conscious decision to write such conversational lyrics, but I've definitely noticed most
people don't do it,” Klein adds. “I know we're different, because people tell me we're different, but we never tried to be.
The result is an album packed with truth, and light on ambiguity. “Some writers aren’t even sure what their lyrics mean until after they're written, and only then do they attach meaning,” Paul adds. “I know what I mean, and I'm going to say it. That's the only thing that makes sense to me.”
May 2017 – Peter Robinson
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