Listening to Santa Fe, the debut album from Lostboycrow, the name in which L.A.-based Chris Blair, you’ll find that there’s no time to be wasted as soon as the slinky track “Map” begins. You’re in the song. It’s the audio equivalent of the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – you know that there’s something that happened before Vader entered that ship, but you’re left to figure out what exactly those were. Well, there’s more to that but that’s a different story.
While the cool breeze of the first track subsides, the sun comes up on the aptly named “Orange Juice”. A light guitar riff with an easy beat and synths are a perfect bed for Blair’s voice, which, if you’re casually listening could be a ringer for The 1975’s Matty Healy. It’s wonderfully elastic but easy on the ears.
“Stargazing with Patrick Bateman” is intriguing, especially considering its American Psycho -referencing title. There’s nothing truly scary about it. No slicked back hair, no Huey Lewis and the news, and nothing that sounds like a room being covered in plastic wrap. Instead, it’s all atmosphere, drippy keyboards and synths that really just act like an interlude to bridge into the heartbeat and piano of the album’s title track.
The album is truly impressive in the fact that it builds songs and interludes that truly set an atmosphere. “Passing Thru” is ethereal, where lyrics flow in and out, but it’s brief and 35 seconds, and really acts like an extended intro to the slow-burn of “Suburban Girl”. It’s one thing to build “interludes” that act as connective tissue to larger statements – it’s another just to put half-baked ideas. Lostboycrow has it figured out. It feels logical, and a move by a veteran artist.
Santa Fe feels fully realized. All songs have a purpose, and it’s not a pastiche of ideas that could have spent more time incubating. It feels effortless, airy an endlessly catchy. There are many records that you can find in similarity to this debut, but rarely of them have the chops to back them up. There was certainly labor in making it, yet it doesn’t feel labored. In an era of forward-thinking pop, it’s hard to sustain that over the course of a record. Lostboycrow does it confidently and impressively. Most importantly, you just want to know where the next chapter will drop you in.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
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