Credit: Charla Harvey

Thom LaFond tells a tale of unconventional love on sophomore LP

Following his 2022 debut release The Moon Leans In, Thom LaFond returns with the thoughtfully assembled concept album, Lawless. Telling the story of a romance between a human and an alien, Lawless weaves synthesisers, acoustic instruments and vocals into a lush soundscape, resulting in a powerful and moving experience across nine tracks.

The album is introduced with the title track, which sets the scene with pulsating, swirling synth textures and lush vocal harmonies, as the two characters meet and make a pact to love and protect each other on the following track, ‘I Will Love You’.

As the album progresses, however, the challenges that come with an unconventional relationship begin to overshadow the two characters’ love, and things unravel and take a dark turn. The alien’s dark side is revealed when they abduct the human, breaking the trust between them. The human begins to mourn the Earth that they have left behind, leading the alien to destroy the planet in a fit of rage and jealousy. The human is left with nothing, alone in space.

Midway through the album comes the primarily instrumental track ‘So Criminal’, which almost seems to serve as an interlude between the two phases of the relationship, as the true intentions of the alien are revealed to the human. The long, brooding synthesiser notes capture the human’s newfound sense of isolation and loneliness, before the vocals enter the track just before the three-minute mark and strings are introduced to the mix, adding another haunting layer.

Later on, another instrumental track emerges, titled ‘Fifty-three Portals to the Soul’, which continues to convey the desolation that the human is now feeling at this stage of the story. Meanwhile, the vocal cries towards the end of ‘No Waves’ echo with desperation, before ‘Folding the Universe’ is a short and subdued acceptance of what has happened, clocking in at just under two minutes. Then, the final track ‘I Thought You Died’ takes a more upbeat turn musically, as the human realises the alien is not dead, but instead has moved on.

Whether you choose to listen to the album from start to finish, and follow the narrative of Lawless as is intended, or rather to listen to tracks individually or shuffled on a playlist, the album is immensely enjoyable either way. While it is recommended to listen in the correct order, particularly on first listen, since the story is woven into the album throughout, Thom LaFond doesn’t rely on this as a sole factor of appeal; Lawless holds up and speaks for itself away from the concept, too.

Haiku Review:
A concept album
Telling the tale of a love

Thom LaFond’s second album, Lawless, is out now, 2nd February. To purchase a copy directly from the artist, visit his Bandcamp page.

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