Marrying a vibrant pop sound full of sparkling synths, and celebratory harmonies with emotional thought-provoking songwriting, Lost Lander songs can feel a lot like having a life-altering realization while driving down a sunny coastline on a beautiful summer day.
"You can make a decision to dress your child in whatever clothes you want to," says Matt Sheehy (vocals/guitar) as he looks up from an improvised mezcal and cynar cocktail he dubs, "The Idiot Savant." "When we were deciding how to dress up these songs, we gravitated toward high energy sounds because the lyrical content in a lot of the songs could have moved things in a pretty dark and sad direction. I wanted to create a juxtaposition of sad lyrics with upbeat, happy sounds."
A sense of emotional duality runs through the core of the band's ambitious sophomore album, Medallion, and serves as a blueprint for their live performances as well.
"We push the extremes of the dynamic range at our shows," Sheehy explains. "We love having really quiet moments with intricate arrangements and harmonies next to crazy moments that almost get out of control."
When the Portland four-piece set out to bring Sheehy's songs to life, they checked insecurities at the door to free themselves for the type of anything-goes creation process necessary to produce the euphoric sounds they achieved. Willing to put in the time to record large quantities of material that never ended up being used, they allowed themselves to step out of their own way and let the direction of the album present itself to them instead of forcing the issue.
"A lot of people go in a studio and get in a headspace where they think everything they play has to be perfect," Sheehy muses. "We take the opposite approach and tell ourselves: 'What you're playing right now probably doesn't matter. It's probably not going to get used. Just do whatever you're feeling right now.' That way we get to follow the thought all the way through before our editor brain comes in." He adds, "Hopefully, when we go back and listen, we'll notice a magic little moment and then collect a bunch of those."
Those magic little moments piled up and started to take the shape of dramatic pop music inspired by the epic gaited drum sounds of '80s pop stars like Phil Collins—as well as other influences they may not have previously given into.
"This is the first time in my life that I don't really care if other people don't like the things that I like," drummer Patrick Hughes reveals. "I'm not embarrassed to admit that I like (Swedish recording artist) Robyn. Whatever. I think that we're all sort of at that same point, where maybe in our twenties, we wouldn't have been so carefree. "
That mentality opened them up to doing things they always secretly wanted to do—things like dueling guitar solos (or "guitarmonies" as Sheehy calls them) and the aforementioned 80s drums aesthetic. Once again, they stopped editing themselves and were greeted with rewarding results.
"We're at the point where we're still young enough to have the energy necessary to play this stuff," Hughes concludes. "But we're old enough to say, 'This sounds awesome to me,' and just do it without worrying about what people will think."
9 pm. Sat., March 28
Astro Lounge, 147 NW Minnesota