There’s a special place in my heart for earnest, hard-working musicians who dedicate themselves so passionately to making great music that strongly connects with their fans. Such is the case with the young Kansas City band Lost In The City. They play an incredibly dynamic style of Alternative Rock that’s hard to categorize, as it can also be described as Post-Punk, Punk Rock or Punk/Pop. But no matter what label it’s given, the band’s guitar-heavy sound is influenced by some of their (and my) personal favorites, including Fall Out Boy, blink-182, Anberlin, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters and Dance Gavin Dance. In fact, band front man and lead vocalist Shane Radford at times sounds disarmingly similar to Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, yet their music is thoroughly unique.
In addition to Radford, who also plays rhythm guitar & synthesizers, the other band members include Danny Davis (bass/synthesizers), Dustin Proctor (guitar) and Kyle Constant (drums). All are musicians who’ve previously been active in the Kansas City music scene for the past decade. They joined forces to form Lost In The City, and their collective experience gave them a distinct advantage over other newly-formed bands. Once they quickly found their groove, they began playing local shows, writing and recording a full album, and embarking on a nationwide tour. Despite line-up changes, working full-time jobs, going to school, and competing for stage time in a crowded music scene, the band has persevered without skipping a beat.
Lost In The City dropped their debut album Genesis in June 2016, and what a spectacular debut it is! Ten songs that shower your ears with thunderous chords, blistering guitar riffs, power drums and mesmerizing, passion-filled vocals. Lyrically, the songs address the familiar subjects of love, relationships and break-ups, but also the travails of touring, anxiety and depression.
We’re introduced to the album by the first track “Too Young For a Comeback (Too Old to Start Over).” The shredded guitars in this hyperkinetic track are monumental, rising and falling with the throbbing bass line. Halfway through the second track – “The Midwest Isn’t Gold, But It’s Full of Color” – it’s clear these guys kill it with their guitars! The intense, high-energy arrangement of this song make it one of my favorites on the album. The lyrics speak to conflicted dreams of leaving the Midwest for a more exciting existence: “California is calling my name again/Maybe someday I’ll answer it/But for now I’ve got to make do and better myself/My heart is falling for the Midwest/I need some time/I’m looking for a reason to stay.”
The brilliant “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay”is about depression, a subject rarely sung about: “I’ve got a cloud full of sorrows leading me around/This head full of doubt is pulling me down/There’s a battlefield of red, a battlefield of gray/I’m making a stand, inside my head.” The ominous opening guitar riff portends a deeply emotional theme, and Radford’s fervent vocals, sung to furious guitars, make for a tremendously powerful song. The track was released as a single in 2015, nearly a year before the album was completed. The compelling video produced for the song shows the band performing in the graffiti-covered ruins of an abandoned building, interspersed with footage of a woman fleeing her mental demons. (The drummer in the video is Ryan Meador, who subsequently left the band and was replaced by Kyle Constant.)
Another standout track is “Our Time,” with hammering drums, guitars that alternate between chiming and scorching, and Radford’s heartfelt vocals. The powerful lyrics address the fleeting aspect of life – that each of us has our moment in the sun, but it won’t last forever. “Our souls are burning bright and we’re lighting up the sky/Homesick feelings, there’s no point to lie/Someday we’ll build a legacy, someday we’ll all die.”
“Too Far Gone” is a kick-ass hard-driving track with incredible soaring choruses and distorted guitars, while the smoldering rock ballad “Wildfire”features beguiling circular plucky guitars overlying heavy bass. Shredded guitars rule on the catchy, melodic “Bottles” and pulse-pounding “Novels For the New Moon.” The power-ballad “Eyes” is yet another standout track, with changing tempo and chord progressions that create tension. At 3:45, the song appears to end, then abruptly begins again with a reprise of the chorus “I’m building up a way to pay for my mistakes/Don’t forget the stars in your eyes.”
The epic final track, “Monsters Are(n’t) Real,” feels almost like a mini rock opera, clocking in at over seven minutes. The song opens with carnival-like sounds, possibly from a haunted house attraction, and distorted guitars keeping time, then erupts with pummeling bass and fast-paced swirling guitars. The poignant lyrics address the anxieties of growing up and regrets from adult realities and disappointments. The song closes with the chorus “I’m sorry I grew up/I’m sorry I failed.” Some pretty heavy stuff there.
“Genesis” is aptly named, as this album marks the beginnings of a band with great promise. Support Lost in the City by following them on Facebook and Twitter. Stream the album on Spotify or purchase on Amazon, itunes or Bandcamp.