We Are Rising, by Son Lux

October 2, 2011

Earlier this year, NPR's All Songs Considered solicited Ryan Lott, aka Son Lux, for an experiment: could he write and record an album in one month? Lott agreed. We Are Rising recalls his excellent debut At War with Walls and Mazes, but its quick-and-dirty creation lends it a more varied sound.

Lott is an arrangement-and-production savant, ag­gressively blending electronic experimentation with orchestral instruments—and conventional rock instruments used sparingly to make them count. His several guest singers mostly provide texture; the lead vocals Lott handles himself with limited range but striking character.

The key ingredient, however, is Lott's pop sensibilities. With heavily layered electronic music, it's hard to separate composition from arrangement. Yet it's easy to picture an adept guitar pop band reimagining these richly varied songs, from the detuned opening long chords of "Flickers" to the closer "Rebuild," which, like a 16-year-old boy, lives in the tension of being near the dance floor but not on it.