Ryan Lott and friends, AKA Son Lux, are difficult to pin down. Having gone through various transformations, albeit within the same cinematic-sound milieu, they’re decidedly abstract enough to place outside of conventional recording artist territory yet have been responsible for well-known mainstream projects. Lott’s success, as such, seems to convey that while comfortable in creating soundscapes for film and TV, he’s just as confident in using those same motifs to extract himself and Son Lux farther from middle-ground.
As is the case with Bones, their (his, really) fourth full-length effort. An airy blend of ambient synth-pads and Bowie-esque vocal strains are underlaid with heavy percussion and fractured electronic sensibilities. ‘Change Is Everything’ is anthemic and towering, but whether it is a natural progression from anything on Lanterns is debatable. ‘Flight’ is arguably a better indicator of the modus operandi at play through Bones and as such commands the attention with swift, ruthless percussive shifts and stabbing, rhythmic synthesisers.
For a fuller representation of the compositional aptitude Lott clearly has, head for ‘You Don’t Know Me’ with its bluesy vocal line and melodic, echoing overlay that treads carefully through mortar-bomb drum smashes and sawtooth waves. The dynamic seems straightforward; it’s gentle then brash, melodic then angular, but it’s pulled off with such grace that it works as both an intriguing middle-point to the record and as the strongest track overall. That’s not to say that Bones is let down too much by the enveloping songs, but it feels unsettled and grasping at times; as if there is something just out of Lott’s reach that he can’t quite translate.
Still, this is a fine record from a fine musician (and his crew) and there are plenty of captivating moments that creep up on you. The title track or penultimate ‘Now I want’ for example. In any case, it’s a strong effort and certainly worthy of your time.