Lanterns - Apocalypse Youth (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Apocalypse Youth (2008)


San Diego's (San Diegans?) Lanterns lift quite a bit of their sound from Sonic Youth's musical apex, crafting a neat little EP of dramatic, distortion-heavy indie rock in Apocalypse Youth. Don't get me wrong, though; this isn't blatant plagiarism -- it's more of an homage with plenty of unique standout moments.

Apocalypse Youth is heavy on the distortion, but it's the type of distortion that enhances rather than distracts. In fact, it complements the free-wheeling nature of "Midnight Psalms (Alright!)" quite nicely, giving all the instruments some extra oomph, especially the crashing drums and warm guitar tones. And there's a sweet little groove that lies under everything in "End-Time Blues" that strangely becomes more pronounced as the song marches on, delving further into discordance. The spoken word parts are slightly grating, but not enough to completely ruin the song.

"Creation Myth" and "Desperate Wolves, Beacon Flames" are both solid, the former carried by a heavily distorted bass line and some slightly more atmospheric guitar tones, and the latter possessing the catchiest vocal pattern I've heard in quite a while.

The only real hiccup on Apocalypse Youth is final track "Electric Warrior Kisses," where all that distortion the band utilized so perfectly in the previous four songs comes back to haunt them. The keyboard sounds here are really uncomfortable to listen to, to the point where turning down the volume is the only real way to hear it without it sounding like nails on a chalkboard. It's a peculiar way to end the EP, but the four really good songs that precede it make up for it.