Lyonn - Promenade
Released May 20, 2014
By Charlie Dims
It's only been a matter of months since Lyonn (Tyler Gelrud) first came out with his debut EP Knivsta in January of this year. Now he's back with his second effort Promenade. When releases are that close together it can be hard to see a change of pace or growth from an artist. It can also be hard to make a really good EP with only four songs on each one. Lyonn, however, manages to overcome both of these challenges.
It's not that Lyonn has had a total reinvention since we heard him last. Love, and the search for it, continues to be a huge theme for him. Knivsta was very much a love record that showed both the highs ("You made me wonder, could life get better than this?/Am I living in a silver screen flick?" from Silver Screen Love) and the lows ("As everything started fading/I grabber her heart and asked her to love me" from Iceberg) of relationships. For every moment of sweetness ("I'm not scared when you're here"), there was a dark cloud not to far away ("The ghouls under my bed, they don't sleep/The ghost in the corner sees right through me" from Young Love).
In Promenade, this balance between the good times and the bad times is still very much at play. We start off at a good place with Dancing Machine, a nice and dreamy song about having found the person that you can "take the lead" with. The second song, Midnight Mind, offers a drop and reveals a longing for love in the narrator, asking his lady to "just pretend for tonight that you want me." Just Say Hello shows the frustration and fear of trying to romance the "stranger on the street" who could possibly be the one. Through all this, Lyonn's smooth vocals caress the listener's ear.
While the themes of lost or unrequited love has been done before by countless artists, Lyonn makes his songs unique by giving his compositions a lighter feel to contrast the darker lyrics. His use of stringed instruments, which can very easily turn a song about love into a pile of mush, along with his voice, helps create a smoother landscape that Knivsta offered. While Knivsta was a rawer intimate experience, Promenade has a more polished touch to it and shows an artist that is not afraid to experiment with styles while still sticking to his core themes. Let's hope Lyonn's third EP isn't too far away.