Luke Lalonde – Rhythymnals

luke lalonde
Between Born Ruffians’ second and third albums comes Luke Lalonde’s first solo effort, an eccentric mix of songs compiled during the frontman’s downtime. The opening track, “Grande (Rhythymnals),” feels like the perfect bridge between Born Ruffians’ analogue charm and Lalonde’s more electronic tracks. A series of angelic voices and intermittent radio blips eases you in before an uplifting acoustic tune takes over, bolstered by chants. Unfortunately, the other side of that bridge never reaches that same creative high. From here, Rhythymnals moves mostly between electronic R&B and aimless melancholia. “Hate The Night” mixes laid-back beats and eerie synths with Lalonde’s croon (think indie Justin Timberlake), while “Shove Off” shows the eccentricity of a BR b-side. The catchiest track, “Undone,” romantically joins a sad acoustic verse with an unapologetically poppy chorus, but “Red Wagon” carves out a more satisfying groove with its simple beats and cyclical melody.
With some albums, it’s better to focus on the highlights rather than the whole. While Rhythymnals, as an album, doesn’t amaze me, it does deliver a few interesting tunes to tide over BR fans until their upcoming release. And there’s a good chance you will have your interest sparked after hearing one of Lalonde’s radio-friendly tracks. But Rhythmnals often loses momentum with unnecessary tangents and glossy electronic effects. Lalonde seems to favor dense layers and structure over atmosphere and groove, so it makes for songs that sound like a handful of good ideas buried under a mountain of sugary editing. At its best, Rhythymnals captures the eccentric joy that makes BR the little-big band worth hearing. At its worst, it’s scatterbrained and more than a little self-indulgent. (Paper Bag Records, Matthew Dyck

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