Lanu

Her 12 Faces

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Lanu is better known as Lance Ferguson, bandleader of Australian funk group the Bamboos. On his second solo album, he creates a pleasing and often quirky pastiche of sounds and beats that sometimes sounds like a sort of Latin big beat (the wonderful "Beautiful Trash") and at others, like a slightly off-kilter but attractively tuneful jangle-pop ("Fall," "Hold Me Down"). His sound is mostly pretty organic, but there are moments when a weird glitchiness invades the soundfield (generally for the better), and others when a celesta or a glockenspiel or a marimba saunters in to add another unusual facet to the album's already crazily variegated texture. What's interesting is Ferguson's ability to incorporate all of these different elements (which also include a string section, Hawaiian-style slide guitar, and several appearances by the fine singer Megan Washington) without ever letting the music sound crowded or dense; there's an essential lightness to even the funkiest and most heavily arranged tracks, and at his best ("Beautiful Trash," "Roosevelt Blues," "Portrait in 50hz," "Hold Me Down") the effect can be close to transcendent. When not as his best (as on the turgidly jazzy "Jean Paul" and an inexplicable French-language cover version of Roxy Music's "More Than This") he's still pretty interesting.

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