LANY’s ‘Malibu Nights’ packs a tragic punch
Dessi Gomez | Wednesday, October 31, 2018
LANY, the trio composed of Paul Jason Klein’s vocals and piano, Jake Goss’ drums and sampling pad and Les Priest’s synthesizers and backup vocals and guitar, released its sophomore album “Malibu Nights” on Oct. 5. The band has experienced both individual growth and growth in its fan base, which seems appropriate for the meaning of LANY’s name — Los Angeles and New York — and its aims of spreading its music from coast to coast of the United States. They have even expanded outside the U.S. with recent concerts in Europe.
In tracing the transition between its first and second albums, a few major differences and similarities come to mind. LANY demonstrates thoughtfulness and care when it comes to its artistic expression, evidenced by its choice of symbolic album covers. Its first album sported a red rose on its cover, which, though unintentional in choice at first, came to represent the band as its symbol. In hindsight, the rose reflects a more romantic and hopeful side of LANY.
The moon on the cover of “Malibu Nights” symbolizes the long nights and darkness that gave way to the band’s second work. Yet bright colors accompany the moon on the front of “Malibu Nights,” reminiscent of a sunset as well as the same energy and passion LANY built itself upon.
“Malibu Nights” contains only nine songs to the eponymous album’s 17, which shows LANY’s ability to be more concise. Its refined lyrics and sounds pack just as much a punch as the first album did.
In “If You See Her,” Klein sings about a girl who has torn a huge hole in the life of the guy she has left. The pounding percussion rapidly unfolds the thoughts surrounding the abrupt severing of the relationship.
“Run” is a haunting song on the album. Klein’s airy vocals resemble a whispering voice in the back of one’s head. Rough guitar and stippled percussion create an eerie background for Klein’s attempts to piece together the mysterious ending of a relationship.
“Let Me Know” shows a calmer side of LANY with faint guitar-picking and slower percussion. Klein’s airy vocals sound far away, as if in a dream. Echoes of the lyrics also soften the song, providing a sense of peace and letting go.
“Valentine’s Day” contains lyrics describing the beginning of a new relationship, yet sadness and loss taint these hopeful words. There is no mention of the holiday in the song, and the sparks of hope are ultimately overwhelmed by the absence of an ex-lover. Strong guitar supports this song, and the piano creates vulnerability.
As the concluding title track, “Malibu Nights” showcases the rawest form of the emotions that went into the making of this album. The minimalist combination of Klein’s vocals with the piano produces a fragility in the song that feels more potent without the layering of other sounds.
Starting with the title and symbol of its second album, LANY hints at its increased growth and transparency. “Malibu Nights” exposes fans to the real raw moments of LANY’s experience, more tragic in this album than in the last. Admiration arises for the band’s ability to transform pain into art.
Album: Malibu Nights
Label: Polydor Records
Favorite Tracks: “Thick and Thin”, “If You See Her”, “I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore” and “Malibu Nights”
If you like: LAUV, The 1975
Shamrocks: 4 out of 5