Review Summary: Arguably some of the best music Ryan Lott's ever released.
Ryan Lott's abilities as a producer have continuously thrown up brilliant tunes, but any full lengths under the Son Lux moniker have tended to buckle under the weight of tonal inconsistencies and (to put it very bluntly) filler. Stand-outs like 2008's "Break" and last year's "Easy" almost gained mini fan bases of their own for lack of a complementary album to be directed to, and as such Son Lux, as an artist, has existed in an odd limbo state where plenty have heard individual songs but it's rare to find anyone intimately familiar with his work as a whole. To date, his music has best been digested in small bites: one of many reasons the quietly released two-track Tear
was so excellent.
As a four track EP, Alternate Worlds
is unsurprisingly great, but the consistency can only be said to partially contribute to what is arguably Lott's best album so far. Lott has taken the four stand-out tracks of Lanterns and "re-imagined" them. To the uninitiated, that means going back to square one in order to take all the risks he was previously too nervous to try.
This isn't to say Son Lux music has ever been standard before, but Alternate Worlds
goes so far out of its way to experiment that it might as well have been. At its safest, Lott strips down "Lost it to Trying" to a shivering, vulnerable cry: turning the previously triumphant single into something much more defeatist by focusing on forlorn vocal melodies. On the other end of the spectrum, he's bringing in New Zealand songstress Lorde for a much angrier rendition of Easy complete with her sinister snarls and a chaotic, screeching electronic malfunction of a breakdown. What original sweetness there was is lost under squelches of bass and oppressively militant percussion.
Often these kind of alternate cut albums exist as a service to devote fans; a "what could have been" for the kind of person who's already greedily digested any previous albums to a tasteless mulch. Alternate Worlds
might have begun its short life with this in mind, but these are four standalone tracks in their own right and in most cases easily surpass their original iterations. However, there is a sense of indulgence evident in the over the top production and dramatic blasts of sound, and to this I say two things. One: it isn't much of a weakness in the general scope of things. Two: if you don't want horn blasts and heroic build ups, who are you and why the hell are you listening to Son Lux?