LANY had a plan for 2018. In part it involved recovering from an intense, high-flying 2017, the year the Nashville-formed, London-signed, Los Angeles-based trio released their debut, self-titled album and toured the world, collecting an army of rabid fans enamoured by their modern alt-anthems. Now they had decided to go away and dream it all up again.
LANY – frontman Paul Klein (piano, guitar), Les Priest (keyboards, guitar), Jake Goss (drums, samples) – are nothing if not ambitious. Having put their first songs online under their own steam in 2014 and then doggedly built up an impassioned following on stage and on the socials, the synth-driven alt-pop band know the value of keeping things fresh and forward-moving.
Their songs have been streamed over 1 billion times and their hectic, globe-girdling debut album campaign involved playing 135 shows in 28 countries to some 100,000 fans.
As Klein says: “On top of writing a lot of songs, we put a big importance on delivering live. Our shows are really unique and special to us. We strive for people to walk away saying, ‘I have to see them every time they come here.’ And we’ve played so many shows. It’s about putting on something unforgettable.”
To quote the slogan on their 2017 tour merchandise: LANY are For The World. Their name might combine the two poles of America, LA and NY, but this is a band who have always looked further.
“We toured until December 20th, then got to go home for Christmas,” recalls Klein, who was classically trained on piano from the early age of five. “We were planning on taking January and February off. I wanted to spend those two months as an experimental, fun time. But I just wound up writing album two.”
After a six-week creative rush in the studio at his Malibu home at the beginning of 2018, Klein had the songs for LANY’s remarkable second album. The nine-song set, titled Malibu Nights, are some of the singer’s most personal compositions yet.
“The album is over a very focused theme,” he explains. “It’s the ups and downs of disappointment and confusion.”
First single Thru These Tears typifies the varied strengths of Klein’s songwriting on Malibu Nights: emotionally honest, universal, uplifting. “This hurts like hell, telling myself it’s gonna get better, but it’s taking forever…” he sings over an anthem that evokes a classic of the form, The Police’s Every Breath You Take, but as covered by Coldplay. Klein will take that.
“Chris Martin made the piano cool. When I was growing up, classical piano was not cool!” he laughs. “All my friends were doing cool shit and I was going to classical piano competitions.”.
Malibu Nights captures Klein in the midst of a mesmeric creative streak. Opening track Thick And Thin glides on a wave of evocative, classic eighties-style synth washes. Taking Me Back, written just the next day, is epic and hopeful, a pop song that acts as the heart of the record. I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore glows with intimate imagery whilst Let Me Know, is a tender soul ballad.
The album rounds out with the title track. A spartan, nocturnal piano ballad, Malibu Nights showcases Klein’s vocals at their most up-close and rawest, while also presenting his lyrics at their most honest: “Way too much whiskey in my blood, I feel my body giving up, can I hold on for another night?”
Malibu Nights, the album, is the remarkable sound of Paul Klein here and now, live and raw and real, a timely chronicle of a timeless experience.
“These songs saved my life,” concludes Klein. “When I finished writing, I thought: ‘I’m not scared to die any more.’ Because if these were the last things people heard from me, I’d be proud of them.”