Welcome to The List, The Edge‘s annual look at the best new musical talent for the year ahead. Check back daily over next week as we announce this year’s lineup in full, and revisit our picks from years past.
Taking their name from their chosen cities of Los Angeles and New York, electropop three-piece LANY formed in March 2014 when then-soloist Paul Klein met Jake Goss and Les Priest of WRLDS in Nashville. The project began on a small scale with ‘Hot Lights’ and the Acronyms EP (‘(OMG),’ ‘ILYSB,’ ‘BRB‘) before they eventually signed with Polydor and Interscope as they, and in particular ‘ILYSB,’ gathered traction online. Three further EPs have followed: I Loved You. and Make Out in 2015 and 2016’s kinda, which preceded a 50-date early autumn tour across America and Europe that included a London date praised by The Edge – “[the]fusion of the dreamy sound and an adoring crowd that transcends demographics appears to draw the utmost from [Klein’s] demeanour… From a delectable band whose trajectory seems infinite and finale comes preceded by a voicemail from the drummer’s mother, would you expect anything else?”
Their sound is rather unique: its mystifying feel stems from experiments with echoes to give the songs a sense of transcendence and it has clear links with the stripped style of Troye Sivan, with whom they toured the US last February before joining Ellie Goulding for a UK arena run the following month. It is perhaps best exhibited by ‘ILYSB,’ a record about a standard relationship that has tallied over 50 million plays online. Klein’s vocal style established a sense of freedom and carelessness, preventing its lines (“And you need to know that you keep me up all night, all night / Oh, my heart hurts so good / I love you, babe / So bad, so bad”) from becoming romantic pop clichés; its sereneness and simplicity mirroring the same sense of hope felt by listeners towards such a sentiment.
This down-to-earth surreality remains a constant factor in all their releases, setting a blissfully tranquil mood. kinda‘s ‘pink skies‘ uses delicate electric guitar to create a smooth, laidback, easy-going product; I Loved You.‘s ‘4EVER!‘ encapsulates the glee of love by allowing Klein to lead over sporadic, uplifting synth chords and intricate percussion. Instead of challenging, LANY’s is music that allows us to relinquish our trepidations. Focusing on texture and atmosphere for an ethereal feel, it very cleverly focuses on vulnerabilities and melody to be the epitome of what we dance to by ourselves when free from judgment and worry.