Last Sunday, March 23, I had the pleasure of seeing Son Lux, the stage name of Ryan Lott, at The Drake Hotel. Having never heard of Son Lux or Ryan Lott, I was interested in hearing what he had to offer, besides the punny opportunity to call him “bagels and Lux.” Lott actually has some impressive credentials- based in New York, he released his third album, Lanterns, in October 2013, has had one of his songs covered by now superstar Lorde, was the original music composer for the popular futuristic movie Looper, and is part of the group Sisyphus, which our own Dave recently covered. Clearly Son Lux was worth a closer look, especially after his satisfying introduction at The Drake.
After an energetic and entertaining opening act by the band Leverage Models, whose singer reminded me of Edward Norton circa Fight Club with his disheveled suit, Son Lux took to the stage to provide a more intricate and textured sound. The first thing you notice about Son Lux are the unique vocals of Ryan Lott, whose voice is somewhat soulful, has a wavering raspiness, like an old man who has had too many whiskeys and heartbreaks. This darkness is also translated in the lyrics of many of Lux’s songs, which have a brooding loneliness to them. For example, in Easy, Lott croons “pull out your heart / to make being alone / easy.” Lux’s performance required attentive listening, such as in the song Stay, where the room was silent to listen to Lott’s sparse keyboard chords. The performance had long instrumental journeys between lyrics and it was easy to get lost in the soundscapes created.
Concerning Lux’s latest album, Lanterns, Lott continues the epic sound expanses and dark lyrics. The album begins energetically with flying violins and flutes going on everywhere, then calms things down towards the end of the album. One problem is that Son Lux can’t seem to find a good middle ground throughout the album, where the blast of sound at the beginning of the album could be overwhelming, and the calm towards the end had some lackluster moments, such as in Plan the Escape or Lanterns Lit. However, Son Lux does show potential on some tracks, like Easy, where he is able to strike the right balance to create a simple and enjoyable sound, or No Crimes, which had a contagious energy to it.
Overall, Son Lux had an enjoyable performance at The Drake that was enough to catch my attention and investigate further. Although his latest endeavour Lanterns is a little inconsistent, there are some good moments that make it a worthwhile listen to see for yourself.