Material: Stealing inspiration from acts like The Police, Lost Lander plucks new wave’s disembodied passion from the dustbin of ‘80s nostalgia and re-contextualizes it within a present-day aesthetic. Their pulsing glow hovers somewhere betwixt laidback folk via chill-doused groove and unapologetic pop- rock. Rather than shocking audiences with turbocharged BPM or earsplitting volume, the Portland, OR quartet entices by beaming shifting prisms of sound that swirl deep inside one’s subconscious. Lyrics present themes of interpersonal discovery in a manner that invites interpretation.
Musicianship: Surprisingly low, funky bass gives Lost Lander its heartbeat, while drums splash welcome vibrancy into everything. Sarah Fennell’s keyboards are augmented with occasional tambourines as frontman Matt Sheehy’s guitar explores hidden eddies of rhythm.
Luscious vocals, meanwhile, imbue their sound with a stupendous ruby soul, especially when deploying seemingly effortless harmonies.
Performance: Lost Lander’s peppy-yet- reflective style lends itself to contemplative spaces better than the cavernous environs of nightclubs, yet they make an admirable effort at transporting audiences into an alternative headspace. Their laidback rapport sets an amiable tone and vocalizing the group’s name more than once on stage earns points.
A fizzled attempt at a sing-along, however, subtracts from their appeal, and slow burn intensity doesn’t naturally lend itself to thrilling showmanship. Lack of a memorable closer means their set ends not with a bang but a whimper.
Summary: Too low-octane to dance to, yet too high-energy for a proper space out, Lost Lander inhabits the netherworld in between. An intriguing realm to visit, it’s difficult envisioning how their cool-yet-hot sound can move beyond niche status.
How to graduate from a musical curiosity into something that elevates the spirits of many will likely prove elusive. Yet once you’ve punched your ticket and hopped upon their romantic ride, earnest feels will strike your emotional core like a dazzling vista during summer solstice.
Players: Matt Sheehy, guitar, vocals; Sarah Fennell, keyboards, vocals; Patrick Hughes, drums; William Seiji Marsh, bass.
Venue: Brighton Music Hall
City: Allston, MA