LUNDEN REIGN – Confessions
May 5, 2018
Independent - 2018
Impressive soul-searching from within strange, yet welcoming, world.
It’s a getting-to-know progress for Lunden Reign whose debut album "American Stranger" captured them moving away from LA alienation to a friend-and-confidante intimacy that’s spectacularly realized here: whereas previously there was a red, arid, “voice in a wilderness” color scheme to the record, “Confessions” glows, especially on vinyl, with turquoise delight. Spiritual serenity is far from the ensemble’s minds, though, catchy cuts such as “Fate Of The World” going beyond purely emotional depth and tapping into global worries.
Which is why determination rules the game on the tense, near symphonic “Never Ending Dream” and the equally reflective, alt-tinged opener “Stardust Daze” whose guitars sting and vocal harmonies caress the listener’s ears, and “Little Lost Girl” is an upbeat encouragement piece. Yet six-string riff and piano ripple are only a thread in the title track’s throb – mesmeric and enchanting in an esoteric, if memorable, way – while the folk inflections informing the drive of “Coming Home Tonight” elevate its lyricism to the sunny skies, before the heavy groove behind “Red Wagon” bids farewell to the simple pleasures of one’s past.
That’s the contrast needed to spike “Dead Man Walking” with anger and rock ‘n’ roll licks because it is exactly the drama demanded of the future heroes, and that’s what’s igniting the pop agenda of “Thunder Or The Rain” to give it hope. But the funk-fueled “Faded Memories” is so innocently sweet it’s impossible to ignore – as is the entire record whose inner sanctum may seem strange until it turns out to be all-encompassing and open for all.
LUNDEN REIGN: CONFESSIONS (BLUE VINYL, 12 INCH LTD EDITION)
May 8, 2018
For their second album, 'Confessions' (by Lunden Reign) released on limited blue 12 inch vinyl, in limited editions, the duo let themselves be assisted in the studio on drums and bass. The music of Lunden Reign can be described as alternative rock or in a modern twist of classical rock. With their debut album 'American Stranger' released in 2015, they were in the spotlight worldwide, which will certainly also succeed with these 'Confessions'. Not only because of the catchy melodies, but also because of the lyrics. These have sprouted from the personal experiences and visions. These are both their visions on how things are going on politically in the world, and the disillusionment and complexity in love and relationships, which are often the cause of an inner struggle to be delivered. Experiences and feelings that also touch the listener and are translated musically here.
The second side opens up to a driven beat, with the 'Fate Of The World', carried by powerful guitars. Despite all the misery in the world, Lunden Reign sees a light in 'Never Ending Dreams', where love will ultimately prevail.
'Confessions' does not contain any weak number and shows the high rock content that these ladies exude. Rock that carries both strength and beauty, which is not always obvious.
If you do not get the vinyl version, surf to Lunden Reigns site, where you can also digitally purchase the album. Definitely to consider, because 'Confessions' is worth exploring!
Lambert Smits (4 ½)
Can powerful, guitar-driven rock go hand in hand with meaningful lyrics and beauty? You do not believe it? Then listen to Lunden Reign. They will open your eyes with 'Confessions'. Rock at a very high level!
April 24, 2018
On the heels of their critically acclaimed debut album, Lunden Reign is releasing their second album “Confessions” on limited edition 12-inch vinyl on April 14, 2018, on the Capitol Records label. It is not very often that I receive a vinyl album to review which I am thrilled with this one being on beautiful blue vinyl.... This is my second review for this great band with American Stranger which I reviewed back in December 2016. This album shows the growth since their last album with 10 powerhouse songs that focus on political emotions and empowerment as well as some fantastic love songs that will make the hairs stand on your neck such as Stardust Daze, the title track Confessions, Fate Of The World, Dead Man Walking and much more. I was impressed by how well this album was written, performed, recorded and produced. You will want to add this album to your library.
Lunden Reign: “Confessions” (2018) Record Review
THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018
Okay, I admit that I am a sucker for colored vinyl. And Confessions, the new record from Lunden Reign, is offered in an incredibly appealing aquamarine shade, with a slight marbled quality. Basically, it’s beautiful. One thing I love about records is the physical relationship it creates between you and the music. And the colored vinyl just makes that relationship even more enjoyable. All right, enough about that. Lunden Reign is a Los Angeles rock band.
Side 1 kicks off with “Stardust Daze,” a strong and positive rock song in which Nikki Lunden sings “We have to find a way/We’ve got to find our way/We’re living in the face of dreams/And everything we’re living for/Is something that’s worth fighting for.” The vocals are delivered with passion and honesty. This is a song I like more each time I listen to it. It’s followed by “Confessions,” the record’s title track. This one is a harder song, with more of an uneasy edge, and it grabs me from the start. I absolutely love the vocal line on this one. It’s interesting that revealing one’s self is akin to confessions.
The first lines of “Coming Home Tonight” are “For days I’ve been so haunted by/Your fierce embrace/And bewitching eyes,” and there is something haunting in the vocal delivery. Then, when it kicks in for the chorus, it becomes more firmly rooted in the pop realm. This song features some unusual lyrics, like these lines: “A portrait of a charcoaled girl/Drawn on sheets on a tilt-a-whirl.” (My friend once vomited on a tilt-a-whirl, and tried to hold it in his mouth, and every time we’d pass by the guy running it, my other friend and I would shout out to him to stop it. The guy ignored us, and eventually, well, my friend couldn’t keep it in. I haven’t been on a tilt-a-whirl since. Okay, slight digression there. Sorry.) “Coming Home Tonight” is followed by “Red Wagon.” In this one, they sing “And we can’t go back to yesterday.” That’s true, and yet this song itself takes me back to an earlier time. Something about its sound makes me feel like I’m a child again, and that’s part of the point of the song. No, we “can’t return to yesterday,” but we can certainly revisit the way we felt then. Likewise, “Little Girl,” which concludes the first side of the record, might take you back. There is something of a 1980s rock thing happening, which I like.
Side 2 opens with “Fate Of The World,” rock song of a certain, heavier mood. “These modern day times/Such criminal minds/We’re led into a dark story.” That is true, though I’m doing my best to not let myself be pulled down into it. It’s difficult to separate yourself, to not be affected, isn’t it? This song obviously has something to say about our world, our current situations. Lines that stand out to me as being particularly pertinent are “They’re spewing out lies/Dreams to start to unwind” and “They led us along/Why didn’t we care?” That’s a big question I have these days, even as I try to care a little less myself, in order to keep from completely succumbing to despair or anger. Ah, where is that line? To be informed and concerned with being inflamed and consumed. “Never Ending Dream” takes place in this same dark world, but has a slightly more romantic bent. “Hold me tight so I can sleep/When I wake I want to be/In your arms where I don’t care/If my ghost brings me despair.” How about those lines?
It has always struck me as a bit insulting that when you consider the roles of women in guitar-driven bands, they are either treated as curiosities, or they are the eye-candy representatives of something other than what you're listening to. The majority of female singers in this kind of music get broken down into two camps; the pop stars who never found their big break, or the classical singers who are used to make metal seem more dignified. There are very few true rock singers who get any attention, which is a shame for more than just the reasons of equality, but also because when they hit the mark, they can be even more effective than bland baritone man #427.
“28IF (Without, Which Not)” has a title that is a garble of words and letters, but it's another highly enjoyable mix of the new and old, and exactly the kind of song that Lunden Reign needs to be building their reputation on. The mix of rock swagger and catchy hooks is well-balanced, and keeps the music from ever feeling the least bit poppy.
“Hush & Whispers” continues the winning streak, with a driving rhythm and big hook that will probably become the band's biggest live anthem, while the title track introduces a cello to give an increased sense of drama to the composition. “Mary” is the album's centerpiece, and longest song, and features some gorgeously crisp guitar tones that cut through the mix and give the riffs the ability to attack.
By the time we get to the end of the record, two things are clear; 1) "American Stranger" is one of those rare albums that could benefit from being longer. At a taut 37 minutes, it's a brisk bit of music that passes by too quickly. I would have liked there to be one more song to flesh things out just a touch. The album feels a bit short to me. 2) However, Lunden Reign has made a damn solid rock album. Sure, I wouldn't mind if they had pumped a bit more pop sheen into some of the melodies to really make the songs impossible to forget, but that doesn't take away from the fact that what they've done is impressive. “American Stranger” is a strong outing for a debut album, and a needed statement to redefine the ways we see women in rock music.
That might be asking a bit too much of an album, but I always enjoy getting to hear reminders that the stereotypes we live with are of our own making. Lunden Reign defy expectations, and they've made a strong case for themselves. “American Stranger” is a fantastic example of modern classic rock.