‘Journeys’ is the impressive debut album from Catalan alt rockers, Lancaster. The Barcelona quintet have crafted an impressively deep record that resonates with emotional currents. Leading the listener on a path between moments of melancholy introspection and hopeful optimism, Lancaster deploy an impressive arsenal of soaring guitar melodies and catchy, singalong choruses
Some of the heavier moments of ‘Journeys’ bring with them some of the most catchy. Lead single ‘As Wild As Tigers’ brings driving guitars and airy synths together to produce 3 minutes of uplifting pop-rock goodness. ‘Young Blood (Take Me Higher)’ and ‘Deadly Sins’ find Lancaster at their most aggressive and defiant, with lines such as “Take me higher” and “This the end of the story” practically begging for a live crowd to shout them out loud.
However, it’s not all straight forward, and ‘Journeys’ explores some complex emotional territory.
Opener ‘Die Young’ is a celebratory anthem with a twinge of regret, extolling the listener to life to the fullest whilst reminding that it must all end at some time. The likes of ‘Thorns’ and ‘The Beast In Me’ contain moments of painful self-reflection, whilst closer ‘Love Is A War We Have Lost’ lives up to its title by providing the most downbeat moments of the album. These moments are handled with genuine feeling, and don’t lapse into the self-pitying ‘woe is me’ territory that could be a potential pitfall in handling this kind of emotional content.
The guitars provide rich layers of texture in the busier moments, but Lancaster also know when to pare it back and apply a ‘less is more’ approach, with verses utilising sparser arrangements allowing songs to breathe and flow before launching into powerful choruses. It’s an impressive use of dynamics in an era where such songwriting tools are often overlooked, and shows a level of maturity in Lancaster‘s songwriting that belies the fact that this is their debut album.
It may not be the easiest of listens throughout, but the depth of ‘Journeys’ does reward listening as a whole album to take in the whole gamut of colours it paints. This is a release Lancaster can be proud of producing, and we can hope it portends bigger things to come.
Written by Sean Richardson
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS!