03 February 2011

Review LANU 'Her 12 Faces'

Her 12 Faces
[Tru Thoughts]

Upfront: I'm a big fan of Lanu's work.

Under his birth name Lance Ferguson he has produced five albums as the bandleader, guitarist & chief songwriter for The Bamboos, one of the best Deep Funk bands on the planet. He was the producer & co-songwriter for two albums by Bamboos frontwoman Kylie Auldist, showcasing a slick, R&B-styled soul-pop. As Lanu, his debut solo album, 2007's This Is My Home, blended West London broken beat with Detroit-styled future soul & an intuitive jazz sensibility.

So I was excited to hear he is about to release his 2nd solo album, titled Her 12 Faces. I came to the album with no indication how it might sound other than having been told "it's a little different from my other albums" by the man himself. I hadn't read the record company press release. I hadn't heard the single.

And I must admit upon first listen I was entirely underwhelmed.

Where's the edginess? Where are the "interesting" bits? Where the bloody hell has Lanu gone!?

However as I persevered, the hidden charms of this electronic-flecked dream pop began to reveal themselves. Dream pop? Oh yes, dream pop. And Lounge, Folk, even a little Latin music, all drawn together into a subtle sonic stew - which utilises clever songwriting alongside the kind of scholarly approach to contemporary beats you'd expect of someone who counts Mr Scruff, Keb Darge, DJ Food & Kenny Dope as fans/friends.

Despite the access to well-known international names (This Is My Home featured Aloe Blacc & Quantic, among others) the key guest on Her 12 Faces is Aussie popstress Megan Washington.

Fresh from a Gold-selling album in Oz, which also won her two ARIA awards last year, Washington's involvement here seems to have allowed Lanu licence to approach his songwriting from another angle stylistically. I mean, let's face it: the man knows his way around a tue, we're already well aware of that, but, given a new muse to work with, Lanu has branched out further from his past work to deliver 12 slices of peerless indie dream pop.

Having now read the press release I see they mention Koop, Feist & Janelle Monae, but I reckon Her 12 Faces pitches almost exactly halfway between Little Dragon & Steely Dan. To be frank, I can't think of anything dreamier, or more appealing in pop terms, than that. Nice one, Lance.

In A Nutshell: 12 slices of peerless indie dream pop from a modern songwriting wunderkind
90's Rating: SEVEN swaying sunflowers in a summer's meadow OUT OF TEN

Check out the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90 every Wednesday morning around 8.30am, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show. Thanks to Longroom. And youse fullas.

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