PopCrush Presents: Son Lux
Every week at PopCrush, we’re putting the spotlight on one up-and-coming act you need to know about. Why? So you can get on board early before everyone else and their mother jumps on the bandwagon…and so you can be that one friend in the group who’s always like, “Um, actually, I prefer their earlier work.”
The experimental pop outfit began as the solo project of singer and producer Ryan Lott, who's also scored movies including The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and a little film called Paper Towns. Guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang now round out the group, which released their eclectic, richly-textured Bones album in 2015.
Hunger Games fans may have heard Bat For Lashes' version of Son Lux's "Plan the Escape," from their 2013 Lanterns release, on the Lorde-curated Mockingjay Pt. 1 soundtrack. And Lorde herself was so enamored of Lanterns' "Easy" that she hopped on a cover version.
But those are just two of Lantern's influences on the your faves: "Easy"'s taut instrumentation is (heavily) sampled on Halsey's "Hold Me Down" from her 2015 Badlands album, while Fall Out Boy drew a heaping portion of "Lost It To Trying" for American Beauty/American Psycho's "Fourth of July."
Son Lux's most recent single, "You Don't Know Me," shares the intensity of "Easy," and Lott's trembling vocals lend extra urgency — the result of what Bob Ross would call a "happy accident."
"When Ryan sent us his first vocal draft of 'You Don't Know Me,' he insisted that it was a scratch take, explaining that he was sick with bronchitis and could barely speak," Son Lux member Rafiq Bhatia told PopCrush. "But as soon as we listened, Ian and I were both immediately convinced that those vocals needed to be on the final version. There is something in this recording -- in the way that it documents a fleeting, fragile moment of struggle -- that epitomizes the substance of the song, and of the album. Ryan was rapidly losing his voice, but knew he had to get this idea down before it was too late, so time was of the essence."
Bhatia continues, "You can hear him fighting to get every word out; his voice is broken, but he goes on undeterred. And I think it's that grit in the face of difficulty that makes this performance much more powerful and interesting than it would have been if it were technically perfect. Like much else on Bones, it's evocative of the battle with entropy that we all eventually lose, but that, in some strange way, we can also ultimately win."
The video for "You Don't Know" is a perfect match for the song's high drama, featuring Orphan Black's chameleonic lead Tatiana Maslany. Watch below — and if you like what you've heard so far, be sure to pick up Bones on iTunes.