It’s been said that all good things come to an end. Fortunately for fans of indie rock band Lórien, they're only down a keyboardist and occasional background singer (Cara Pollock). Their new venture, under the moniker The Young International, promises to maintain their melodic sensibility and attention to pop detail. Prior to closing the book on their venture as Lórien, the fivesome left devotees with a final chapter, The Missing Collection.
Full of b-sides and alternate versions of previously released material, The Missing Collection was the final gasp of a band in its death throes. Considering the demo-quality recordings of most of the included tracks, it’s fair to assume Lórien already knew they were due for a crash landing on April 13 when they released the album. It comes in a final effort to share all the unreleased music they had lying around before the band moves on to the next project.
Lead track “Monster Ate The Pilot” directly steals its storyline from the hit TV series <i>Lost</i>. In fact, it so clearly rides the themes of purpose, destiny, and mystery that the show is (in)famous for, that Lórien ought to consider careers as Music Supervisors.
“Change Your Mind” is indicative of the songwriting skill that Lórien brings to every tune they write and features their careful attention to melody that will predictably be the foundation of The Young International. As lead singer/guitarist Kaleb Jones said, “We’ve learned it comes down to great songs. If you play Muse or Coldplay songs on acoustic guitar, they would be just as effective as far as the melody and chord structure goes.”
Perhaps the strongest songs on the album are “Turn Us On” and “Empty Words,” both remastered versions of tracks off their 2006 EP, The Ghost In The Parlor. Those who hadn’t heard “Designer Kiss” until the demo version found here, might see the track as quite a gem, but it pales in comparison to the original version released as a b-side to 2009s Esque.
Generally speaking, all the songs on The Missing Collection are in some way melodically memorable. Lórien exhibit a discernible talent for penning rock tunes, a talent that helps us forgive them for lines like “that’s how we roll” (“Seven Ways To Lie”) and an unsound attempt at a Christmas jam (“Favorite Time Of Year”).
In a way, it’s regrettable that Lórien dissolved. It seemed as if they were just getting started on a good thing. Yet their first single as The Young International, “Ruckus,” shows that this “re-branding” is likely just that: A progression forward from what Lórien was. In all likelihood, this move is a positive one. Indie rock band Paper Route provided the perfect road map for band facelifts when they ditched the acoustic doldrums of For All The Drifters and embraced electronic synth-rock. It could be through losing a band member that The Young International are finally able to break through for some well deserved recognition.
3 / 5 stars