A love letter to ’80s youth
Composed of former Cocteau Twin bassist Simon Raymonde and drummer Richard Thomas, the indie-pop group Lost Horizons crafts songs like they’re haunting little love stories, and the second half of their latest two-part album makes one wonder if they should create a new genre of music (let’s say, rainy-day-bedroom-reflection-with-a-hint-of-nostalgia) just for them. The music industry vets were largely absent from the music industry for 20 years before coming together in 2016 and crafting two melancholy playbooks with these last two releases.
As a cohesive whole, the album is like a collection of classics from the ’80s repurposed into modern sound, which would make sense since the pair met up and recorded a few demos in the ’80s. Their singer/songwriter style comes through clearly throughout the album, but especially in this last half, a distinct kind of sound that might make someone swear they’re hearing David Bowie come out of their speakers. This anecdote doesn’t apply to every song, though, as Lost Horizons isn’t afraid to dip their toe in multiple musical groups, with some songs featuring aspects of jazz or punk rock.
It’s plain to see from the first half of the album that the band prides itself on their stellar instrumentation with their quick-thinking drumming patterns and rocking bass lines. The group relies on featured artists to do the vocalization, which makes for a really interesting and alive collection of songs as all the different vocalists and featured-artists bring depth and personalization to each track. The mixing is also good, with a rare near-perfect balance between all audible parties.
In Quiet Moments Pt. 2 is the second half of their new album. The songs throughout the album feel dark, almost like an old black and white film photograph, a farewell to a youth and a welcoming of maturity. The opening track to part two of the album “In Quiet Moments” features singer Ural Thomas in a low-key and jazzy droning pop tune. The song feels like smoking a cigarette in the rain while taking in the city from underneath the awning of a hotel. With a contrast between Thomas’ voice, clear, focused and questioning, the tempo keeping drums and the soft piano, this song feels balanced, personal and demo-like.
“Circle” features C Duncan. This tune has a little more upbeat drumming featured with additions from some layered vocalization. It’s easy to recognize the influences of jazz with this song. Ren Harview is featured in the chill tune “Unraveling In Slow Motion.” Harview’s smooth vocal prowess floats perfectly atop the emotional tone of the violin and the drums. The lyrics tackle the topics of femininity and a woman’s freedom in owning her sensuality. “Marie,” featuring Marissa Nadler, gives the same vibes as some A24 film, specifically some pivotal moment where the punk rocker falls in love with the manic pixie dream girl. It’s brooding and soft, and feels like a love letter.
The Smith and Thomas duo have created a satisfying conclusion to their latest musical chapter with In Quiet Moments Pt. 2. This ’80s-inspired masterpiece literally feels like the cast of St. Elmo’s Fire changed form and became a set of drums and a guitar.
Richard Thomas said in an interview with their record label about his experience with fellow band member Simon Raymonde: “The business side of music became too painful. I had too much love for music that wasn’t returned. But Simon has music in his heart and soul, he’s extremely talented, and I wanted to get him making music again. And when the idea of jamming together came up again, I got really excited, which I hadn’t felt about music in ages.”
That excitement and passion for music certainly comes across in part two of their new album. This is music you can feel effortlessly coursing in your veins, the involuntary foot-tapping kind of tune. It just feels really well done, like each moment was crafted with intention and a fond memory of the past.