LANCO Have Potential To Change Country Music With Hallelujah Nights Debut
Authenticity is a strange term thrown around in the music industry today. When you take a look at the Billboard Hot 100, the influence of godlike rock guitar tones and the electrifying touch of synthesizers that was prevalent in the later half of the 20th century can be found in a strong handful of the tracks. Music is more compressed than ever and in this digital age, where any mistake can be fixed by a flip of the switch, artists have taken these influences and factors and have created masterpieces, and most listeners couldn't be happier with the "perfect" sound. Whether it be a fad or a new, powerful direction music is going in, the sounds of our influencers are more prevalent than they've ever been before.
So what happens when this "new era" of sound takes a swig of country, a genre that is primarily confined within it's roots? LANCO may be the answer to that question.
LANCO's got the look of a hipster boyband and the music talent royalty of classic rock kings. Their debut record "Hallelujah Nights" reached an impressive No. 1 on the Country charts and their single, "Greatest Love Story", is gaining a lot of attention amongst country fans.
After taking a listen to their debut record, it can definitely be said that LANCO's got a lot of potential to shape the country music world... if only they could break the mold a little more.
LANCO's record is one of the most diverse country music records out there, taking influences in from all sorts of places from the rock world. From the very first moments after pushing play, you immediately are treated with the sound of a synth pad, and "Born to Love You" soothes you with a clean electric guitar riff, one you might find on an indie rock station. "I was born in a town full of red pine trees/County sign says "follow your dreams"/Westbound train makes the whole town shake/Friday night lights decide your fate," are the opening lines of the record, reminding you this quintet is country as stereotypical country gets.
The rest of the song fills you in with foreign "country" sounds. Synth sounds that could've been taking from a Bowie record, twang-less guitar fills and vocal fills in the background that are married in holy matrimony with airy synth pads. The song is a fusion dream of both country and rock artists alike.
"Long Live Tonight" sounds like it was co-written with Bad Suns and WALK THE MOON. When each individual instrument comes in, you can hear the different influences. It's a super group of indie rock and country experts, coming in to write some glorious tracks. Even though the chorus has a cliche feel with it's "modern country" crisp/compressed vocal harmonies and campy/catchy lines, it is all forgiven with the rest of the song sounding so different from the typical "bro-country" style...
until you listen to the rest of the record.
Now, granted, there are some gems in this record, but for a band that had such a unique sound going on to switch gears and start singing songs of Florida Georgia Line flavor is super disappointing to my tastebuds. "Pick You Up", "We Do" and "Win You Over" completely throw away the "authentic" vibe that LANCO was providing for the listener and puts you in another music video with beer, girls, and large automobiles. With lyrics you'd find on the back of Blake Shelton's truck and the same kind of music you'd find anywhere on the Billboard Top 10 country tracks from the past 5 years, LANCO takes dip on the creative side and gives in to the popular "bro country' side of the force.
However, knowing that their biggest single,"Greatest Love Song", is getting the most attention gives me hope. "Greatest Love Song" is probably the most beautiful track on the record and showcases the group's songwriting abilities and subtlety. When listening to this track, you can take a breath and relax, which is a feeling that can be shared by any listener, not one fascinated with beer, girls, and large automobiles.
The track "Hallelujah Nights" has sounds that come from all sorts of eras of music history and they’re beautifully crafted together. Clocking in at six minutes, the title track is a work of brilliance and a black sheep from the rest of the songs. It was when listening to this epic where I realized "why couldn't all the other songs have a feel like this?"
If they had more confidence to break away from the obnoxious country pop mode that has been prevalent for the past few years, LANCO has the potential of being the band that bridges country to the young millennial generation.