I’ve been at many a party recently where all fuzzy 4am talk slips into the question of musical era.
It’s been a decade since nu-rave, a decade and more since the thrashing comeback of guitar-led indie; in 2018, there’s a pervasive awareness of how revivalist waves have crashed into a heady blitz of cultural pastiche that’s difficult to divide and sort.
Whether a millennial expression of existential angst or a postmodern gesture of flattened temporal cool, the title for LYLO’s sophomore record, Post Era, neatly captures a musical vertigo that pushes back from the mainstream banalities of retro-culture in favour of playful, intricate takes on electro, psych and ye olde jangly indie classics.
Where LYLO’s 2015 debut, Handsome Living, introduced us to a luminous aesthetic of catchy hooks and gloomy, suburban allure, Post Era is its extroverted cousin: sharper, funkier, stranger—pacing ritzy jazz tracks like ‘Turn My Jacket’ alongside slow-jams like ‘Submerge’.
The overall effect is indulgent, but for once the indulgence feels earned.
Opening track ‘Everything’s Cool’ sparkles into existence from a haze of gold-dripping 80s guitars, shivering snares and synth rumbles, buoying us up on rolling bass and elaborate punches of sax.
Comparisons to The Style Council’s eclectic camp and Talk Talk’s breezy new wave assurance abound, but it’s worth flagging Post Era’s more lo-fi affinities—from Washed Out’s ethereal bedroom atmospherics to voluptuously nostalgic eccojam bass to Com Truise’s starry-eyed synth compositions.
With slightly muted, dreamy production, plenty of space is given to Iain McCall’s luxurious saxophone motifs and Mitch Flynn’s sweetly vaporous vocals.
Smooth riffs on the likes of ‘It’s Good to Know Your Man’ sweep up laidback currents with the baggy psych flair of Pond, while the addition of Niall Morris on synths adds irresistible dream pop layers to the doe-eyed blues that made Handsome Living a winner.
There’s a certain ennui to LYLO’s output, ranging from their debut’s overriding concept of middle-class languor to Post Era’s cultural snapshots of “twisted youth”, where we yearn to be kept “in the hell you design”.
When sung over the snappy, jazz attack rhythms of ‘Turn My Jacket’, however, these reflective lyrics acquire a futuristic urgency that’s deftly reined in by the understated, focused production and radio-friendly song lengths.
Perhaps it’s this restraint that cements the album’s instant pleasure factor, over and above its giddy mix of complex instrumentation.
One thing’s for sure—if the band’s recent sell-out launch at Stereo is anything to go by—Post Era easily translates its latent intensity to the stage, where peachy keen grooves like ‘Yeah Boy’ are brought to life with dark, sophisticated disco vibes—at once the melancholy introvert’s lament and the lounge band’s casual extravagance.
Overall, Post Era is a record that wears its nostalgia lightly, makes alchemy of past styles that glitter with potential—a January standout, certainly.
Words: Maria Sledmere