Guildford band Lost in Wonderland first came to our notice here in 2011 with their impressive performance at local venue The Boileroom. Out of the three or four bands playing they were the ones who grabbed a lingering attention on the night and stayed as a thought in the mind since. The recent release of their debut album Against the Sun offered up the chance to find out how they had evolved from that more than decent performance and appealing sound of eighteen months or so ago.
The first thing notable as Against the Sun unveiled its passionate and superbly crafted songs, was the band still had the breath and flavoursome presence from our first introduction. Lost in Wonderland and their music has certainly grown in maturity and strength but still retains the expressive heart and emotive fire which marked them all those months ago. Formed and led by songwriter, vocalist, guitarist Alexis Demetriou, a graduate of the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, the band is one which has gigged extensively with acclaim and a strong continually growing fan base in its wake. In many ways it is a surprise they have not earned a wider awareness and recognition before now but as the album treats the ear the sense that things might change soon fill the air.
Completed by fellow ACM graduates Max McPherson (lead guitar and backing vocals), Kim Griffin (bass) and Stephan Seiler (drums), Lost in Wonderland takes seeds and influences from bands such as Creed, Pearl Jam, Tool, Nickelback, Shinedown, Staind, and Alter Bridge, their inspirations open and clear as they fuse them with Middle Eastern vibes which hold a lure all of their own and melodic grooves that leave lips licked and emotions entangled. The band also is also no stranger to punctuating their rich sound with metallic muscle and forceful heavy rock intent; the finely shaped combination music which captures the imagination with ease. Whether it is a sound and album which has discovered its distinct voice and presence yet can be argued but both stand with heads held high in the company of bands mentioned.
Emerging squalling guitars register the first impact on the ear, a response soon elevated by the firm rhythms and probing basslines which follow as well as purely mesmeric fiery guitar play as the opener Rise Again steps forward. The vocals of Demetriou are as expressive as the music and share the passion driving the song. The melodic enterprise at times wrings spicery of Alter Bridge and Nickelback into its impacting flames and though it holds a familiar taste it is come with a unique flavouring.
The following title track rises like the breaking day sun, its warmth and melodic caresses wrapping around the ear as sturdy rhythmic sinews and crisp emotive intensity veins the encounter. Like the first, the track blends shadows and light musically and lyrically with impressive craft and grace, the songwriting and its realisation earning nothing less than acclaim and enthused focus. As the thread and representation of social and personal life emerges through the loosely attached theme inspired by Lewis Carroll’s timeless creation of Alice and her descent through a dark and seedy underworld, the album and tracks like the heartfelt No One Else to Blame and the exotic Enough bring stronger inventive pleasure. The second of this pair of songs is a riveting merger of muscle and melodic eloquence bringing thoughts of Audioslave and Stone Sour to the fore. It is an excellent track with those Middle Eastern teases loud contagious whispers and the perfect gate way to this equally impressive album.
The album continues to impress as each song unveils its heart and craft. Further highlights in one overall thrilling level come in the vibrant shapes of previous single Lost In Wonderland with its Poets Of The Fall like beauty, the Finnish band often coming to mind across the album, the potent and emotionally scenic Where Will You Be, and the pulsating Unwanted. The last is the closing track and leaves one with no alternative but to enter the world of the release right away, the song an infectious and sensational sunset on the album whilst at the same time turning the key to a new dawn with the release.
Against the Sun is an excellent album which melodic rock fans, especially those with a grunge and hard rock heart, will devour with eagerness. Lost In Wonderland has left those thoughts and impressions earned many months ago confirmed yet a big underestimation. This is a band all should become acquainted with.
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