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Her 12 Faces (Bonus Version)

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Album Review

Lanu is better known as Lance Ferguson, bandleader of Australian funk group the Bamboos. On his second solo album, he creates a pleasing and often quirky pastiche of sounds and beats that sometimes sounds like a sort of Latin big beat (the wonderful "Beautiful Trash") and at others, like a slightly off-kilter but attractively tuneful jangle-pop ("Fall," "Hold Me Down"). His sound is mostly pretty organic, but there are moments when a weird glitchiness invades the soundfield (generally for the better), and others when a celesta or a glockenspiel or a marimba saunters in to add another unusual facet to the album's already crazily variegated texture. What's interesting is Ferguson's ability to incorporate all of these different elements (which also include a string section, Hawaiian-style slide guitar, and several appearances by the fine singer Megan Washington) without ever letting the music sound crowded or dense; there's an essential lightness to even the funkiest and most heavily arranged tracks, and at his best ("Beautiful Trash," "Roosevelt Blues," "Portrait in 50hz," "Hold Me Down") the effect can be close to transcendent. When not as his best (as on the turgidly jazzy "Jean Paul" and an inexplicable French-language cover version of Roxy Music's "More Than This") he's still pretty interesting.

Customer Reviews

Lanu - Her 12 Faces (2011 LP)

Her 12 Faces is essentially a production by Lanu with the starring role being played by the affable Megan Washington. If this were a big budget musical, then Washington’s face would be all over the billboards and Lanu’s name in small print in the credits. Overall, the album features Washington on half the songs - seven in total - with the most salient and radio friendly being "Beautiful Trash" which is currently being played on high rotation on Triple J.

Let’s not get confused with thinking it’s all about Meg – after all this is a Lanu (Lance Ferguson of The Bamboos fame) solo album - but given the other songs on the album are all instrumentals, it’s hard not get distracted by the songstress. In fact, the direction of this record seems like a natural progression for Washington when it’s time to release album number two. The Bamboos' inspired funk, layered instruments and textured rhythms add substance to what is already a winning formula for her.

"Hold Me Down" is a touching number, mixing Washington’s sultry vocals with Lanu’s silky smooth production as she croons “Yeah, you always hold me down”. "The Coral Route" is a stunning instrumental track – taking the listener on a journey to a far away island where the destination is a hammock and Pina Coladas are served ice cold all day long. It’s a wonderfully uplifting song.

Lanu’s instrumentals grow more and more with each listen as the various sounds and arrangements begin to come to life. The album is an easy listen but it’s hard not to think of it as a Washington release as her fingerprints are undeniably all over it. On the whole, the collection of songs works as a nice precursor to the autumn months as we start to kiss summer goodbye for another year.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Lanu is the experimental side project of the Bamboos' guitarist and leader, Lance Ferguson, one of the most prolific and well-respected musicians on the Australian funk and soul scene. Born in New Zealand, Ferguson grew up in a musical family, with his Hawaiian guitarist grandfather, Bill Wolfgramm, responsible for the country's first ever LP in 1956. In 2000, he formed Melbourne funk revivalists the Bamboos, who released four albums during the noughties, Step It Up, Rawville, Side-Stepper, and 4,...
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Her 12 Faces (Bonus Version), Lanu
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