Lanu – The Double Sunrise
Very few of us will experience what it's like to live our life cruising from island to island through crystalline waters on a luxurious yacht.
This is why it's handy to have records like Lanu's The Double Sunrise around. It's one of those records that evokes a place and a feeling that most of us only ever dream about.
Lanu is the brainchild of restless Melbourne musician Lance Ferguson, who is best known as the leader of soul pop champions The Bamboos (full disclosure: Lance is also an announcer on Double J). His previous work as Lanu has seen him make some slick soulful pop music, but this album has been specifically influenced by the idyllic perception outsiders have of the South Seas and the exotica music inspired by that part of the world.
Sweeping first track 'Secret Order of the Double Sunrise' sounds like the best parts of those dusty Burt Bacharach and Henry Mancini records you found while rifling through your grandparents' living room as a child. This lush orchestration, mixed with classic pop sensibilities is constant throughout the entire album and works on both the album's instrumental tracks and with featured singers.
Megan Washington's vocals work perfectly with the sounds that Lanu has pulled together on The Double Sunrise. Songs like 'The Others' benefit greatly from her effortless, breezy voice. Importantly, it never seems contrived, which might have been an easy trap when making such a specific sounding record.
French singer Melanie Pain's voice may be an even better match. The melody she carries in the chorus of 'Fly Away' is so beautiful and it's impossible not to find the laid back 'Menage A Trois' incredibly exotic.
But it's Lanu's instrumentation that speaks loudest on The Double Sunrise. His judicious use of strings and horns is so classy, the melodies he's written are clearly steeped in the exotica music that inspired the album, but also sound completely modern. The brilliantly titled 'The Kava Diary' evokes some kind of tranquil wonderland with its twinkling harp and steel guitar and the short, snappy Aranui makes good use of the Melbourne Samoan Choir.
It's no small endeavour to take such a specific, niche musical idea and follow it to its conclusion, but Lanu proves that there are great treasures to uncover if you're dedicated enough.