The Lost Patrol
Review by Kent Manthie
On their fourth and latest CD, The Lost Patrol continue in their oblique, atmospheric pop candy (but NOT bubblegum!) and it just keeps getting better and better. It’s full of breathy, catchy, indie pop tunes. But one that really sticks out is track 10, “Just Go”, a song that comes off like an old jazz standard, a la Billie Holliday, etc. But, since all the songs are written by The Lost Patrol, it’s their own tune, but I love the way they make it sound like an old tune – it has that “old” style, recording technique that sounds like it was recorded in 1958 instead of 2013. Mollie Israel, the lead singer, does a fabulous job on all the songs – she has a lovely voice and, after hearing “Just Go”, one can see that she has a wide range of musical styles.
The rest of Driven is filled with ethereal, mellow and sometimes emotional indie pop bliss. “See You In Hell” is an edgy song that sounds like a “drop dead” letter to someone who deserves it – an ex who ruined a relationship, someone who was trusted but betrayed that trust and so on. “Disguise”, the closer, is a pretty, ballad-esque romantic tune to dance to or to just sit in your room and brood over.
Listening to Driven more and more, when I peel back all the layers of the studio bells & whistles, so to speak, I can hear a big influence from music of the 50s and 60s. I don’t mean “Doo-Wop” or “Elvis-ish” rock & roll, but more of an R&B flavor in it, that’s where the emotion and the laid-back feeling come in. Back when they were still new and trying to find a footing, they would try to make “soundtrack”-type music, as in experimental stuff that one might find on a soundtrack to a dreamy film, say, one by David Lynch or Wim Wenders. This foray into textural sounds and experimentation helped to set the mold for what they’re currently up to. It must be working since they have a good sized fan base here in the U.S., are critical darlings of music press writers, most notably in New York City. Also, they’ve managed to attract attention from listeners all over the globe; from countries such as Australia, Spain, Peru, Japan and Serbia to name a few.
Another big plus for The Lost Patrol is that they’ve managed to catch the attention of certain film and TV projects: since around 2010 TLP has gotten momentum by having some of their music placed on the teeny-bopper delight TV show, Gossip Girl. While I know Gossip Girl isn’t exactly high culture (or even “high-brow”) it is nice to be able to have millions of 8th and 9th graders watching a show on which your music is featured. An even better place to be placed is in Hal Hartley’s new project, Meanwhile. Also, TLP will be featured in an upcoming film by writer/director Amy Heckerling, Vamps which will feature songs of theirs from their previous albums, Midnight Matinee and Dark Matter as well as some original stuff.
The Lost Patrol continues to grow and evolve with their elegant mixture of cinematic soundscapes and retro-futuristic pop, playing live performances on both the East and West Coasts. Having followed their career for the past few CDs or so, I’d have to say that Driven is definitely their best effort yet. It has a lush dreaminess with a verve and elan that just keep getting keener with each passing release. Besides the aforementioned songs on Driven, I thought I’d give a shout out to both the opener, “Spinning” as well as “All Tomorrow’s Promises”, both of which have swirls of lunar effects, but it’s an album that is a great listen, all the way through. After getting lost in the music of Driven, I can’t wait for their next, sure to be pleasing, CD. For now, though, keep an eye out for Vamps, the latest Amy Heckerling film as well as Hal Hartley’s new project, the aforementioned Meanwhile. Hartley is known for making interesting films and I’m sure this one won’t disappoint. -KM