Run Wild

Written by: TL on 23/09/2015 14:56:59

It feels like a different age by now, so long ago it was that Lydia was an ensemble, responsible for the dreamy and cinematic album "Illuminate" (from 2008) which fans will likely reference in every single conversation about them until the end of their career. Seven years and three albums later, Lydia is now a three-piece and with their new album "Run Wild" they have developed their already soft sound to a whole new degree of lightness. And that is not a compliment. For while it was clear with the prior album "Devil" that Lydia was becoming more straight up pop and less mysterious and indie in sound, it would have been hard to prepare for how uninspired and mediocre "Run Wild" sounds.

As always, the sound of Lydia is synonymous with the characteristic singing of vocalist Leighton Antelman, and nothing has really changed in his delivery. He sings softly and seductively, yet rarely has he sung weaker hooks or worked with a more uninteresting instrumental backdrop as is persistently the case on "Run Wild" - a record about which there is absolutely nothing wild at all. There's a lone bright spot in the single "Past Life", which makes itself noticed via a nice jump up in tempo around the middle, and some impactful layering of vocals, but it does not arrive until track six. That means it is preceded by half an album's worth of songs that, while pleasant at a glancing listen, repel attention like umbrellas repel rain.

On this first half, "Riverman" is perhaps the nearest shot at some redemption, channeling a pseudo-folksy acoustic vibe to get going, but one is hard pressed to call it a highlight. Despite subtle variations in tempo and ambiance across the album, this routinely feels like pop-music in the worst way possible, namely in the sense that the instrumental landscape must mainly be unobtrusive, so that nothing impedes the vocalist from standing out - yet Antelman is far from a diverse enough singer to thrive from this across a whole album, and his lyrical efforts hardly have the staying power to arrest your attention either.

It's a problem when the most attention-grabbing thing on an album is a quirky movie sample thrown into its last song ("Georgia") but that really is the case with the completely toothless "Run Wild". One thing is being carefree and writing music with that feeling, but having so completely left behind their qualities of old, and having transitioned to pop-music so uninspiredly, Lydia now sounds like a band you would only get to listening to after completely wearing out the Owl City discography. Which makes it somewhat ironic that the great Aaron Marsh has been involved in the production of this. Because - sorry to say this but - in a world where Copeland exists, why would anyone listen to an album this shallow and boring? Let alone make it?

Download: Past Life, Riverman
For The Fans Of: Tilian Pearson, Copeland, Folly And The Hunter

Release date 18.09.2015

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