Curse of Lono PEOPLE IN CARS

Curse of Lono
People in Cars
Submarine Cat Records

Left of Centre Lo-Fi Gothic Americana Brilliance.

To some degree Curse of Lono shouldn’t really appeal to me; but their debut EP, back in 2016 struck me like a thunderbolt, and every subsequent release has had a similar effect; often becoming my go-to music for dark episodes on equally dark nights …… leaving me feeling in the company of like-minded souls.
Like so many of their ilk; The Pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time; just as the band were picking up Awards, headlining tours in the UK and Europe until the pause button was pressed.
The silver lining though; has been the band’s ability to not just dig deeper; but give the finished article an extra polish too.
Not too much; but opening track Let Your Love Rain Down takes an exciting excursion from the band’s trademark Lo-Fi Americana Noir trademarked direction. Felix Bechtolsheimer’s vocals are as warm and intriguing as ever; but the way Neil Findlay plays his drums with military precision alongside Charis Anderson’s bass makes the beat almost hypnotic; while Joe Hazell and Davi Ruiz Hernandez take us on a scary mystery tour  with their guitar and keyboards.
Somewhere in there is a fascinating song too!
Although the pace picks up with the second track, Think I’m Alright Now, the melody and beat are straight out of the Curse of Lono playbook; and I’m pretty damn sure when this is played live will take on epic status; as the band show Coldplay how this type of song can still be smart without being overtly clever.
Perhaps our friend Bill can point me in the direction of other bands like CoL; but as I no longer dabble in the Indie field, I can only use latter day Leonard Cohen, Coldplay and possibly Wilco as examples of how this album sounds and feels; but there’s an accessibility and magic ‘edge’ here that none of those artists exude.
Normally when I think of Lo-Fi, I normally think of minimalism, but I think Curse of Lono and their incredibly tight arrangements which regularly threaten to burst at the seams; fits that description too …… here, I’m thinking of Alabaster Charlie, Time Slipping and even In Your Arms; which may not be traditionally Lo-Fi, as all have the keyboards and an ‘electro-beat’ at the forefront; but sit comfortably alongside Cowboy Junkies and Lone Justice inside my head.
Who knows why a particular album or band appeals more than others in a similar vein; but when I play one Curse of Lono album I usually end up diving in headlong and dipping in and out of others of theirs; and here the dark and enigmatic Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride and its world weary, introspective words alongside an eminently danceable tune will certainly be something I hunt out when the mood takes me.
Phwoah ….. where do I go for a Favourite Track?
The majestic tale of unrequited love; Ursula Andress was an obvious contender straight from the get go; and if anything is Radio Friendly I guess it’s this …… but don’t expect to hear it on Steve Wright’s Love Songs!
But; as is my wont I’m going left of centre on an album that is undoubtedly Left of Centre …… but will it be the beautiful and melancholic ballad Don’t Take Your Love Away or the haunting duet with Tess Parks, So Damned Beautiful? Both are frighteningly personal but from polar opposites of the ‘love’ spectrum; and go show what a damn intelligent songwriter Felix Bechtolsheimer is evolving into.
Today; being grey and cold I’m erring on the side of the latter which oozes class, style and pain in equal measures….. what’s not to like?
While Curse of Lono revolves around singer and songwriter Felix Bechtolsheimer and the dark chasms of his brilliant mind; this is very much a cohesive creation, and would be nothing without the parts played by Joe Hazell on lead guitar, Dani Ruiz Hernandez’ keyboards, Neil Findlay’s drums and Charis Anderson’s deceptively powerful bass.
As I alluded to earlier; Curse of Lono won’t appeal to everyone ….. but those of us who ‘get it’ will be in for the long haul adding like-minded folk to the ride at every turn of the journey.

Released November 26th 2021


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