Son Lux - Remedy

by Larry Schiffman Rating:10 Release Date:2017-05-12

What do Artists do, when violence is not appropriate?

Let's get the important stuff out of the way up front; because many readers may not get any further in the review. “Remedy”, the new EP from Son Lux is a terrific group of songs. Buy it. You need to hear it. The guys in Son Lux and the charity they are assisting could use the help.

Art is ethereal. One person's triumph is another persons trash. I have lived through “John Cage's super-minimalistic “4'33 for Piano” (1952) where the three musicians sit silently and the only sound is ambient and where I am told the Art comes from paying attention to what is usually filtered out. I have viewed white-on-white canvases where subtlety in texture and tone is to be interpreted as Art. Performance Art exists in the moment and you should be there to experience it. Electronic “Post-rock-alternative hip hop-trip hop” (as Son Lux is described in Wikipedia) often leaves me cold with the sense, that even after multiple listenings, I am hearing some self-indulgent musician making noise for his personal pleasure.

So, what makes “Remedy” something extraordinary and worthy of acclaim? First and foremost Ryan Lott and his two compatriots make very emotional and personal music. Second, it is largely melodic, structured, compelling, and wonderfully produced. Third, it is topical in a less than strident sanctimonious sort of way. Finally, regardless of your political leanings, contributing profits from the album to a non-profit (in this case to the Southern Poverty Law Center) is a pretty wonderful thing to do.

I knew nothing about the group before I sampled “Dangerous”. I was immediately left with the very real visceral feeling that the title perfectly described the intent of the music. The album was composed following the U.S. Presidential election; and the mood makes a statement about the despair that many Americans felt, and dare I say are still experiencing. It is not obvious from the lyrics that the song, and the other three on the album are political in nature; but when placed in context the message is clear. “Are you dangerous...abscond with the truth”, “ I don't wanna have to fight you anymore, But I will, oh, but I will”, “May you die... When you knew what you stole has been stolen from you “, “ Find your voice in the sea of surging bodies and breath To form a melody, to form a melody”. The EP has been described as “ “a demonstrative look into “what it means to live, to create, and to resist in America today,” and captures the three-piece “both mournful and refusing to accept the new normal.””

There is much in the music to keep a listener occupied and entertained without searching for meaning behind the lyrics. There are plenty of hooks to keep you involved. The mix is eminently well done and adds to the enjoyment. Electronic woodwinds bristle with energy. “Remedy” opens with the sound of a stylus “stuck in the groove” before a lovely karimba introduces an almost classical melody eventually joined by the ethereal voice of Mr. Lott. A crowd-sourced chorus joins in to suggest we can, together, rise above what is becoming our new reality.

There are only 4 songs on the album and I am always sorry to hear them and it end. This is a wonderful and important release. It succeeds on every level intended. It alone may not be the “Remedy” for what passes today as politics in America; but at least you can spend 18+ minutes appreciating the artistry involved in making it.

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