Forgetting all the hype and hoopla that surrounds a teenage talent, it’s hard to remain objective when you hear A Feeling So Sweet, the opening track to Lontalius‘s debut album. Young Eddie Johnston isn’t interested in that instant-hit flashiness that accompanies his generation, instead holding out his hand on a track that’s effortlessly warm and inviting in a way that fledgling male acts just can’t seem to muster.
I’ll Forget 17, as its title suggests, may be about the more melancholic aspects of that age, but it doesn’t feel melodramatic or mawkish. In fact, Johnston channels more maturity than his older peers on songs like All I Wanna Say (which almost comes across like Drake doing alt-pop). “All I have to offer is my love… it’s not enough,” he sings and at once embodies the lovelorn and downtrodden people we’ve all been at some point in our lives.
While Lontalius may be an act that defines, for want of a better box, as ‘pop’, he’s certainly ever so introspective about it. Even on a more positive-leaning track like Light Shines Through The Dust, Johnston still navigates the lower registers of his tone and mines the strength we find from within. Of course when it comes to moments like Selfless, there’s a danger of Johnston representing the new breed of emo – the bedroom-pop producer, wallowing in self-indulgent misery in the hope of soundtracking the next Fault In Our Stars – but there’s more substance to him than that. It’s Not Love is a painfully sharp assessment of misguided romance, and an accurate summary of why Lontalius appeals – whether you’re trying to forget 17 or 27, his words still land with utmost force.