Gloucester punks Lanterns release their new record on Monday, and they’re certainly not afraid to talk about their feelings. The band is the new brainchild of Joe Banyard, who often performs clever and pretty acoustic songs under the utterly brilliant or horrendously cringy pseudonym (take your pick) The Joe Banyard Sexperience, and he’s recruited former Still Bust drummer Sam Piper, Kav Townsend and Brogan Wilson to join him on a full band ride. While locals of the Gloucestershire scene will recognise a fair few songs on the record from Joe’s solo project, This Is Not My Home is a shining example of good, honest songwriting, and a masterclass in reinvention.
The eight-track album is short and sweet, but cleverly tied together by a series of tracks labelled ‘Happiness’, each with its own distinct identity. ‘Happiness Pt 1’ heads up the record with some beautiful vocals and proper jangly guitars. It’s rousing stuff, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. ‘Happiness Pt 2’ in comparison is totally different – mostly just guitars, with a haunting echo effect on the vocals, and slots in nicely as a quiet reminiscence. ‘Happiness Pt 3’ instead brings it back up to eleven – an anthemic rendition about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and getting it all back together, it’s fast and fun with a bloody fantastic build up at the end.
Although the ‘Happiness’ trio might be the glue holding it all together, there’s a lot more in store. ‘The Best You’ll Never Have’ is typically introspective and blissfully simple, but what it lacks in intricacy, it more than makes up for in emotion. Every track on This Is Not My Home is full of melody and soul, including lead single ‘Moving On’. A triumphant, heartwarming proclamation, this Gaslight Anthem-esque track is the shining star of the album. It might be a bit of a change of pace for Banyard and Piper, but you’d never know it – the songs translate so well from acoustic anthems to punk rock bangers. This is especially so in the case of ‘Safe With Me’. A live favourite, its shout-along final verse rounds the record off perfectly, and it’s given a power it could never have achieved as just an acoustic track. It’s not to say that every song’s improved by this reinvention because they were great to start with, but they’re given a whole new lease of life which has the potential to open up some exciting new possibilities.
Produced by local hero Dave Draper, This Is Not My Home sounds absolutely huge. It’s tricky to balance punk rock with clean melodies at the best of times, but in Draper’s capable hands, the record strikes the perfect tone. Every raw part feels that way, and every tuneful chorus rings out clearly. As experienced musicians, it was probably an easy decision for Lanterns to eschew the typical ‘do it at home on Garageband’ rite of passage for their debut, and it pays off extraordinarily well. Already, they’ve established what will surely become a signature sound, and it’s always nice to have a record that matches such a great live presence.
Lanterns have truly set the bar high so early in the year, and This Is Not My Home will surely be sticking around in your stereo for many months to come. Eloquent, heartfelt and charming, it’s one of the most impressive debuts I’ve heard in a long time and is a great sign of things to come.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!