Brilliant third album from Curse of Lono gets the new year off to a memorable start.
Well, first things first. ‘People in Cars’, the third album by Curse of Lono is a great album. Released as it was at the fag end of 2021 and arriving too late to make those ends of year ‘Best Of’ lists it therefore has the distinction of being nominated for the 2022 equivalent just days into the new year.
A quick search on this website will reveal a live review of the band at the London Electrowerkz on 1st December and that offers up the background and motivation behind the album. Suffice to say that, as is often the case, it is the darker side of life that drives many of these songs for founder and frontman Felix Bechtolsheimer.
But if drugs, death, danger and depression may not sound like a soundtrack to lift the winter gloom then Bechtolsheimer has added his voice here to those many predecessors that have used dark subject matters as inspiration for memorable songs. The main man’s brooding baritone is a constant. It is such a rich and velvety thing to behold but, as the songs on the album shift in pace and tone, then those vocals accordingly bring different influences to mind.
Listen to the vibrant and urgent rhythm of opening track and lead single ‘Let Your Love Rain Down on Me’ and Bechtolsheimer breathy vocals bring to mind The War on Drugs. It is a feel that repeats at various stages on the album particularly on the equally compelling ‘Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride’ and ‘Steppin’ Out’.
‘In Your Arms’ takes a steer in the direction of Leonard Cohen with an almost spoken vocal and gorgeous female backing from Imogen and Ellie Mason mirroring The Webb Sisters role on those later LC albums. The lone piano accompaniment to ‘Don’t Take Your Love Away’ takes the album to its most subdued place and here Cohen morphs into Knopfler at his downbeat best.
But, in regard to Curse of Lono and ‘People in Cars’ they should be regarded as likenesses and nothing more. This is an album that fizzes with creativity hewn from the darkest recesses of one man’s mind. Whether it be the duet with Tess Parks and distinctive backing track on ‘So Damned Beautiful’ or the epic nine-minute closing track ‘Timeslipping’ that leaves us with a lovely warm glow as the music wends it way to a glorious climax, the album impresses from first to last and overflows with memorable tracks. Highly recommended.