The Lost Patrol
The latest CD from NYC’s The Lost Patrol, Chasing Shadows, is a mesmerizing, dreamlike, silky package, with brilliant, textured layers that ooze out a kind of “noir-pop”. With each new release they seem to be reaching higher into the atmosphere for their music. Lead singer Mollie Israel has this angel-voiced hush that caps the dreamy combination of guitars, keyboards, drums, etc.
The first cut, “Creeper” is a delight. A great song to open with; it really draws you into it’s musical web. “Too Hard Too Fast” is a haloed effect that glazes the beauty of its creatively molded pop sound and is, also, hard to resist. This is great material. Between their last work, 2013’s Driven and their mid-2014 release Chasing Shadows, The Lost Patrol has matured a bit, taken a “musical Valium” and the effect is a chill-out, windswept, cosmological sound that will induce you to a dreamy space rush.
The fourth cut, “Trust Me” has a tinge of the “space cowboy” to it – in other words, it has the same ethereal groove to it, but is accentuated with the strums of an acoustic guitar and an upbeat percussion. Mollie never fails to put out a fabulous vocal on “Trust Me” or the rest. The album goes next, straight to “Treachery”, a more sleek and sensuous sound.
The more I listen to it, the more I figure out who it is I hear in the back of my mind as TLP piques my memory: The Church. Not that there’s any big similarity between the two bands, but in the way that the early albums from The Church had a soft, billowing breeze to their atmospheric dream-pop, on such earlier works as Of Skins and Hearts, The Blurred Crusade and Séance. Just like those albums, Chasing Shadows has a way of being irresistible, of keeping the listener plugged into the album; one just can’t stop the music mid-way through the whole. But I don’t mean to make any solid comparisons between the two.
Between Stephen Masucci’s input: guitar, bass, keyboards and Michael Williams’s 12-string guitar, the music takes shape with a rhythm injected by Tony Mann, who plays his drums in a “just right” manner, appropriate for this: not a bombastic or synthesized treatment, but, by using what sound like brushes and a toned-down beat, gives the rhythm presence without shaking it up too much. One other, more apt comparison I could throw in would be the space-pop of Mazzy Star, but with more emphasis on a group dynamic rather than a back-up band for Hope Sandoval, not to criticize Mazzy Star: I think they have their own, wonderful angle of the angelic-pop sound.
Further on down, the title track is a brave new direction in which to travel; then there’s “I’m 28”, which has Mollie singing a plaintive cry about her life: she’s 28 and wondering what life holds in store for her, the lyrics reflect a similar wonderment about the closing years:“I’m 28 and scared/What have I got to do?” captures it brilliantly – one who is getting on and closer to 30, that magic number, for which, those who’ve gone quite a way in life, from the beginning – at 20, up to 29, when they (at least, according to some artificial, societal norm) are supposed to be settled and fixed upon a career, not, as much anymore, already married with children, as that whole phenomenon is being put off later and later these days while both men and women get a career started and try to find their niche. But they do want to have something accomplished, if not be on the road to it, before hitting that scary point of 30 (which, actually isn’t so bad. After 30, you want to do all you can and time doesn’t seem to be rolling that fast – it’s when you reach your late 30s that you suddenly realize that 40 is just around the corner – and then 50 and so on…
The last two songs, “Hurricane” and “If I Could” round out the album, with two beautiful, sonorous melodies. “If I Could” really is a great song with which to end – it’s got an endearing, memorable melody that lingers for a bit, even after the album stops playing. Another sign of great production and continuity. Yes, I can say, with surety, that Chasing Shadows shows The Lost Patrol growing and not just a here today, gone tomorrow outfit, they have a drive which keeps them going further, exploring new ground, softening a bit around the edges – at least on this album – with the result that the sound is a gorgeous sounding album of precious whimsy. If you haven’t been exposed to The Lost Patrol and would like to hear their subtle metamorphosis, check out Rocket Surgery or Driven and then give Chasing Shadows a listen and see for yourself what it’s all about. -KM.