Lanterns by Son Lux
Sometimes work by one artist sounds so derivative of another that you start to question its validity. Is this a pseudonym? Is this a result of past collaboration? Complete plagiarism? This is true of Son Lux’s third album Lanterns. I was not familiar with Son Lux’s work prior to this album, although I’ve since learned he’s got quite the storied past, such as having once been labeled “Best New Artist” by NPR’s All Songs Considered back in 2008.
The album I most easily compare Lanters to is the #3 album from three years ago: Sufjan Stevens’ Age of Adz. To my ear, the similarities are quite stark, especially on Lanterns’ peak, “Lost it to Trying,” featured in the video above. That song would fit right onto Age of Adz without any reworking needed. The rest of Lanterns has similar Adz overtones, hinting at an underlying dementia or sickness on the part of the performer.
That performer would be Ryan Lott, who is the one-man tour-de-force behind Son Lux. Lott’s even worked directly with Stevens, as part of the strange EP the two of them released with rapper Serengeti as the collective s / s / s. Did Lott have something to do with Adz, which came out a couple years before Beak & Claw, the single fruit of labor from the s / s / s collective )(although apparently another is in the works)? Unless Stevens admits to the collaborators he worked with on Adz, we’ll never really know.
The good news you can take from this is, if you liked Age of Adz, you’ll like Lanterns. Just pretend it’s a Sufjan Stevens album and you won’t even know the difference. Promise.
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