Personnel: Shana Sheehy (vocals); Kaki King, William Seiji Marsh, Peter Condra (guitar); Luke Price (strings); Kelly Pratt (brass); Scott Magee, Drew Shoals, Scott McGee, Dana Jenssen, Dana Janssen (drums).
Audio Mixers: Jeff Stuart Saltzman; Jeff Salzman.
Recording information: Flora, Portland, OR; The Falcon Art Community; The Jalopy; The Jalopy And Flora, Portland, OR.
Editor: Zach Stamler.
Photographers: William Anthony; Brendan Coughlin.
A heartfelt and honest audio treatise on life, loss, love, and death that you can kind of dance to, the second studio album from Portland, Oregon's Lost Lander is also their first outing as a proper band. Released in 2012, DRRT was largely a two-man affair, with songwriter and full-time Pacific Northwest forester Matt Sheehy providing the tunes and Brent Knopf of Menomena handling production duties. This time around, Sheehy is joined by Sarah Fennell (keyboards), Patrick Hughes (drums), and William Seiji Marsh (bass), with Knopf once again providing technical wizardry, and the ensuing 11-track Medallion is the group's strongest outing yet, skillfully pairing effervescent electro-kissed indie pop with evocative, loop-driven ambient folk, resulting in something that falls somewhere between Gotye, Passion Pit, and Crooked Fingers. Knopf's clean, crisp production lends Medallion an air of late-'80s AOR pop that pairs nicely with Sheehy's rich vocals, and the band follows suit, providing a tight backdrop for Sheehy's emotionally charged lyrics. Inspired by the death of his mother and the dissolution of his impending nuptials, Medallion could have been a real drag, but it's tempered with wisdom and acceptance, as well as the softness of finding new love amidst the ruins of the old. It's also lovely melodically, with some real blissful pop moments arriving via standout cuts like "Walking on a Wire," the soulful "Give It Time," and the elegiac closer "Alpine Street," none of which fall victim to despair, yet retain a certain level of melancholy that feels approachable, not pitiful. ~ James Christopher Monger