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Review + Snaps: LANY | Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/01/2017

If The O.C. was still around today, LANY would almost certainly soundtrack it. The LA three-piece capture the essence of over emotional relationships and escapism perfectly, providing an American alternative to the neon rock/pop of The 1975. Like The O.C. did, they’ve managed to tap into the teen market in Australia, breaking streaming records and selling merch like it’s a uniform. Their sold out Sydney show proved though that while their youngest fans may be the loudest, they’re not the only ones devouring their accessible brand of pop.

Frontman Paul Klein has an effortless stage presence that was immediately recognisable when he slid on to the deafening screams of hundreds bursting straight into yea, babe no way. Where other pop/rock bands like LANY place an emphasis on euphoric choruses, LANY hand you that same sort of feeling in the verses and then hit you even harder in the chorus. yea, babe no way felt like a warm, familiar opener, setting the aesthetic for the night – one that rarely deviated.

For a band without a debut album to their name, the 17 songs set list was surprisingly packed full of anthems. Walk Away was a twilight, phones-in-the-air moment and Bad, Bad, Bad set a steady groove that had the whole room dancing. The fans up the front were always going to fawn over every song but the real tell tail sign that LANY were winning over Sydney was when the back of the room was doing the same. Not every moment lit up the whole room but the biggest songs garnered a reaction from everyone.

For the most part, these are songs about personal relationships and California. While most in the crowd wouldn’t be able to relate to a line like, “Why am I in LA?” from WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS but these are romanticised notions. Just like The O.C. you’re somehow left wishing you were living these dramatic lives and it helps that Klein throws himself into every song, giving every over-dramatised emotion. He’s definitely a dramatic performer but when everyone is trying so damn hard to be #relatable these days, it’s kind of refreshing to see a popstar who is very caught up in his own narrative whether it be over-the-top or not.

Every song, even the four new ones, drew a large scream from the first note. These are bass-heavy, neon-drenched tunes that are caught somewhere between Carly Rae Jepsen’s E.MO.TION and MUNA’s debut About U. While Klein didn’t speak much in between songs, it was clear he was overwhelmed by the huge reception. He even shed a tear during perfect prom song Pink Skies. It’s always heartening to see a band that is really starting to take off and are taken back by the extremity of it all.

LANY will release their debut album on 30th June. They treated the crowd to a few new songs, including the next single Good Girls which will be released this Friday. It’s a stomping, dancefloor anthem, that sounds a bit like a melancholic version of The 1975’s The Sound. It immediately resonated and not once did we want to take a drink break during it which is always a good sign.

As a result of a very long setlist, the mood dipped slightly from its giddy heights towards the end but they pushed it back up from WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS onwards. It all led towards the stunning finale ILYSB. It’s the song that would challenge even the hardest of LANY critics. It creates an indescribable mood that makes you fall deeply in love with nothing in particular, even just for three minutes. It was even more stunning sung by hundreds who knew every word, certifying what we already knew – it’s a huge hit.

Surprisingly, sent us home on another new song which was a daring move. The track had the theatrics of a closer and while it may not have drawn the same excitement as its predecessor, most had reached peak contentment during ILYSB and this was just a bonus.

There’s no doubt LANY are going to annoy people. Their lyrics are over-the-top and painfully millennial but there’s also something really fun about embracing the hyperbole, dreaming of LA and exploring the extremities of your mood. They’re writing pristine, slippery pop songs without sounding like the rest of the pop charts right now and you’ve gotta hand it to them. They’ve got a very devoted fan base and that’s an enviable thing to have months out from your debut album.

Photos by Bianca Bosso.