After huge indie pop anthems like “I Don’t Know”, “Khaleesi” and “Vice”, Lisbon began to head in a slightly darker direction with music industry commentary track “Shark” and a long winter hiatus. The band find themselves back together (although one member light) on a UK this tour this spring, debuting their newer, more sample-driven material.
“Tyler” begins with swirling distorted strings, recalling their usage in the 1990s in the works of trip hop acts and pioneers like Goldie and Portishead. Matty’s vocals are downbeat and mournful, relating tales of white and blue collar workers dreaming of something better and seemingly unobtainable. The “Tyler” in question is a reference to Chuck Palahniuk’s intangibly forceful Tyler Durden in his novel “Fight Club”, later made famous by Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s 1999 movie adaptation.
A raspy falsetto refrain of “Dreaming of the California sun” over stabby synths brings the moody track to a heady focus and is as close to a singalong chorus as “Tyler” gets or indeed needs. There’s something of both indie heavweights Blur and the Manic Street Preachers in “Tyler”. The former in their almost defiant approach to creating an indie pop song which is about a specific character or characters toiling away in the face of society’s ills rather than a jolly crowd-pleaser, swerving away from their own mainstream back catalogue. The latter come to mind in the band’s use of audio soundbites to add political commentary and moody guitar riffs which drift from dark and nightmarish to dreamlike and anthemic. Despite not being typically Lisbonesque, the track is undeniably theirs and indisputably cool.
It could be said that Lisbon have grown up with this new sound, but that would be doing a huge disservice to their previous excellent material. “Tyler” might be enough of a change of pace to win them over some new fans but with stormers like “Rio” still closing their set, they’re building on an already impressive bank of tracks and are planning to unleash more of these throughout 2017.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the band last year, so check out what they had to say here.