Since the songsmith’s last performance with rock duo The Parlor Vinyls little over a month ago, Cape Town-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jon Lantic has devoted a considerable amount of effort and energy into a solo project deemed more intrinsic. Now with a 12-track debut album under his belt, Lantic appears neither uncertain nor hesitant in proclaiming his blunderbuss, magnificent-desolation approach to composition.
Produced and recorded in solitary, Lantic expresses that the unprecedented composition process for his self-titled album permitted the artist a creative freedom to effectively express himself. Perhaps sometimes external producers or companion musicians unintentionally induce constraints, but for Lantic’s debut, an objective ear may have been beneficial to the musician’s distinct Jack White-esque persona. It’s almost impossible for artists to disallow an influence to significantly affect their work in some way, but there’s a fine line between influence and duplication.
‘2twenty2’ sets the tone with a hyper-energetic dynamic amongst an opaque fuzz and explosive riff. Similar in approach, ‘Mirror Man’, Message Through Sound’ and ‘Women’ appeal to the same facet.
The enforced camaraderie of ‘Don’t You Know’, ‘The Hill’ and ‘The Olive Tree’ emphasize a relatively gentler motive (think The Moldy Peaches meets The Raconteurs) encompassing enigmatic acoustic progressions with a hint of delta blues. Transitioning through an eclectic folk-rock brew in ‘Cpt James Pinto’ and screeching ‘The Vixen’, Lantic’s debut’s progression is undoubtedly admirable. Experimental ‘Marching Straight to the Enemy’ and penultimate ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ embody exciting, driving bass lines with disorientating, theatrical accompaniments not without a menacing undercurrent.
‘Lonely’ highlights a lighter, relatively compassionate facet of Lantic. Though the majority of this album addresses misdeeds, virtues and inherently self-reflection, the album’s closer holds an almost romantic, minimally-layered texture and empathetic tone. Well, at least until the track’s explosive bridge, Lantic can only subdue his boisterous vigor for so long.
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*Album name has been corrected.