Tuesday, April 8, 2014

THE LOST PATROL - "Driven" (2013; self-produced)

While each album from the canon of New York’s prolific LostPatrol has featured singular high points, the band’s 2013 outing Driven is perhaps the trio’s most atmospherically cohesive record to date. Indeed, permeated by a consistently chaotic undercurrent, almost every song here feels inspired, starting with the sleepy bounce of the opening track, “Spinning”.

The haunting, melodic pop of “All Tomorrow’s Promises” conjures visions of sunrise and western skies, the while reaffirming the Lost Patrol’s status as hit-makers of an alternate plane. Vocalist Mollie Israel skulks through “A Chance of Rain” like Enya’s wicked stepsister. And shades of Sam the Sham creep about the haunted-house swing of “Little Black Kitten”.

Amidst the snarling groove of “See You in Hell”, Israel channels a more worldly version of the psycho-bitch persona that first surfaced on “In Your Blood” (from the band’s 2010 effort, Dark Matter). “You wanna play / You might get beat / If you wanna win / You’d better learn to cheat,” she taunts.

Longtime Lost Patrol fans will take comfort in the signature twilit landscape summoned by the dark trinity of Israel’s vocals, Michael Williams’s infallible 12-string rhythm, and Stephen Massucci’s soaring, Sailor-and-Lula-meet-the-Shadows guitar work. However, each album has also reflected the band’s determination to reach beyond its comfort zone, and Driven is no exception – from the spacey, mock-Theremin on “A Chance of Rain” to the piano-lounge jazz of “Just Go” (the latter also providing a rare, unfiltered glimpse of Israel’s vocal chops). This combination of new and familiar terrain makes Driven a ride worth taking for old and new fans alike.


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