Music Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Led By Lanterns – Paralysis

This January, Brummie four-piece Led By Lanterns unveil their self-released debut album Paralysis. In keeping with their usual sound, the alternative rock quartet draw upon elements of rock and metalcore, infused with electronic and pop-esque harmonies, to create a record that will entice audiences through its hooks and heavy riffs. 

Throughout, vocalist Shaun Hill fluctuates between wonder and worry regarding his own mental well-being and life choices. This, in turn, provokes listeners to have a flurry of self-reflection regarding their personal discords. Yet, by featuring the vocal stylings of Trash Boat’s Tobi Duncan on Alive, Softcult’s Mercedes Arn-Horn on Good Enough and WAVED on Six Feet Down, the sometimes self-deprecating narratives seem less lonesome, reassuring listeners, and Hill, that he isn’t alone in his struggles.

The explosive opening track, Alive (feat. Tobi Duncan), perfectly encapsulates Lanterns‘ signature sound, with its driving guitars glittered with tastefully placed melodic lines. Hill’s vocals flit between crisp riffs and gritty urgency that is reminiscent of You Me At Six’s Sinner’s Never Sleep. However, the most memorable part has to be where we are starved of a much-anticipated drop to close the track. Yet, this is oddly satiating as it transitions into the chaotic Paralysis, making this use of silence greatly needed in complimenting the following anarchic arrangement.

Led By Lanterns next accent their genre-bending creativity in DXWN, an electro-pop dystopia – hello Don Broco influences! With its pop overtones and melodic lead, their “catchy boyband” influences momentarily eclipse the usual grit in lines like “is it going down?” That being said, the chorus does give Lower Than Atlantis Dumb vibes, with its heavy instrumentation and melodious vocal. Likewise, Criminals, draws upon Broco once again with its initially spacious arrangement, stripped back to electronic drums, samples and ethereal harmonies cradling the lead. Until it erupts into dirty, distorted guitars juxtaposing its dance drive.

In comparison, despite the bleak reality of realising loves disillusionment, Disconnected remains the poppiest track on the LP, and a personal favourite. Hill’s inner Ariana prevails with his sassy vocal runs and some lyrics, such as “I wanna feel a love that’s never ending”, offering hope. However, “if over thinking’s a disease then your voice is medicine to me…But it’s like you want me to beg for it” makes this twisted love song an ode to those hapless in its pursuit.

From here, the rest of the tracks seamlessly transition into each other making it an easy listen. However, fascinatedly, those who choose to listen deeper will be awarded with easter egg hints, making the narrative far clearer than before – possibly mirroring Hill’s clarity as he begins recognising his demons. For example, Six Feet Down (feat. WAVED)’s “what if I level with the reaper and he lets me go. Coz if I dig a little deeper I’ll be living in the catacombs” is a nice link to the following track Catacombs, which is oddly self-empowering despite its anger. Smothered in hooks, it seems Hill is desperate to take control of his own life but without forgetting his past, by being “sick of living in the in catacombs…get me out of here in the morning but just give me one more night to collect my bones”. A refreshing outcome from the torment he has faced thus far.

Finally, closing track, Good Enough (feat. Mercedes Arn-Horn), is the reflective ending we crave. However, midway feels like an explosion is needed, but never comes. Yet, despite feeling constantly cheated, a crescendo does detonate but feels somewhat unsatisfying. It doesn’t feel as heavy as it should, making it a slightly anticlimactic ending to an otherwise admirable album. 

Overall, peppered with hooks, heavy riffs and poignant vocals, Paralysis unveils a world of mental anguish inspired by the feeling of being trapped inside yourself (Paralysed), suffocated from overthinking (Satellite) and the realities of a disenchanted relationship (Disconnected). Alongside exploring the transition between self-expectation and self-acceptance (Six Feet Down and Catacombs) Led By Lanterns have created a record that will continue to be relatable to those who feel unsettled within themselves. They offer hope that, one day, they will discover they are Good Enough too.


Standout Tracks: Catacombs, Alive (Feat Tobi Duncan), Disconnected

For Fans Of: You Me At Six, Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis

Written by: Corey Plant