Bones, the latest album from Son Lux, brings post-rock/avant-pop to a cinematic level. Ryan Lott, the great creator of Son Lux and film composer for films Paper Towns and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, has assembled a new lineup for the band (guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang), and together they undertake the arduous task of making sense out of experimental sounds, doing so with the same chaotic precision Lott exhibited on previous Son Lux albums We Are Rising and At War With Walls & Mazes.
Bones brings the listener to a space of reflection, and like a film, it offers up a narrative that travels from hope to despair to emptiness and back to fulfillment. This album should probably only be listened to once before taking a break to reevaluate your life decisions.
In true Son Lux fashion, Bones is not an album to take lightly. Each track offers a new direction, a personal, uncomfortable, inspired, and intrinsic journey through electronic percussion mixed with real drums and maybe some guitar chords that feel familiar. Though some tracks bring out the rhythmic melodies most often experienced in “mainstream” songs, the bulk of Bones is forged in an understanding that “mainstream” has no place in Son Lux’s work. What a relief that is.
Inspiration derived from Son Lux’s involvement with Sisyphus, a collaborative project with Serengeti and Sufjan Stevens, is apparent on this album. “I Am the Others” wraps in the nuances of “Breathe In,” the first track on the album, and pulls on the same theme of loneliness and inclusion as “Take Me,” a track off of Sisyphus’ 2014 self-titled album. “I Am the Others” takes the superficial longing to a deeper level, allowing Son Lux room to think out loud in a sort of stream of consciousness, first speaking to the listener and then to himself: “Am I the only one? / Where are the others? / I am the others.”
Bones shakes post-rock expectations and blends organic musicality with an electronic foundation. It keeps its listeners at a distance but begs for emotional connection, and that connection makes this album all the more gorgeous.
Tickets are still available for Son Lux’s show at El Rey Theatre on July 9.
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