It’s the band name and the album title, it’s pronounced Lay-Nee, and it’s an amalgam of LA and NY. It’s meant to reflect their sound, which merges the laidback hipster vibes of Los Angeles and the cool electronics of underground New York.
In reality, that sound falls into a bland no man’s land that’s more like one of those middling states everyone forgets about.
One moment LANY are pleasantly emoting over reverbed guitars, rippling piano and a haze of warm synths as on The Breakup. The next they’re monotonously murmuring over meandering bleeps and bloops as on so much of the rest of the album. It’s sadly all too forgettable.
At 16 tracks, it’s also far too lengthy. It’s not long before the tracks blur together in a woozy fog as if you’ve been out in the sun a little too long. Flowers On The Floor features some nicely clipped beats and Good Girls is almost a fun uptempo pop track, but for the most part there are few standout tracks. Instead it’s a continuous wash of synth sounds and downbeat vocals depressingly devoid of a hook, all wafting past like a warm Californian breeze with an impact just as fleeting.
If there’s one track that does stand out it’s Parents, a voice clip from one of the band’s mothers in which she gushingly applauds him for his new tattoo she saw in an Instagram post. It’s really quite a sweet message, but with its garish delivery it’s surely meant to be a moment of cringing embarrassment. So why include it? The band’s dream-pop is far too mellow to be rebellious, even in an eye-rolling sort of way. You might turn up the volume to drown out your parents, but they’re more likely to politely ask if you wouldn’t mind turning it down a bit thank you rather than satisfyingly scream in retaliation.
What will you make you scream is how frustrating this album is. There’s an intriguing sound here in parts that’s both comfortingly warm and icily cool; 80s synths and new wave guitars; heady atmosphere punctuated by sun-kissed effervescent flickers of melodies and muted processed beats. You can hear all of this in the music of Twin Shadow, an artist who LANY supported back in 2015 and who managed to combine these things with sharp songwriting. That, ultimately, is what LANY are missing.
They’re capable of it though. Their breakthrough hit Where The Hell Are My Friends successfully merged East and West coast America in a mournful, aching, rush of a pop song. That it’s not even included in this debut album-that-probably-should’ve-been-another-EP is simply bizarre, though that’s perhaps the least of its problems.