With three tracks and a runtime of just over 12 minutes, local trio LeAnder’s debut EP gives Christian and alternative rock fans a quick, radio-ready listen to finish off their summer. LeAnder consists of MTSU alums Scott Lamons (guitar, vocals), Logan Rhea (bass) and Andrew Hall (drums), who formerly booked shows at the now defunct Christian music venue Bonhoeffer’s. And like many artists who played the aforementioned venue, the group combines Christian values and themes into their songs, all while keeping the sound young, energetic and fresh.
The first track on Invictus also serves as its high point, for a multitude of reasons. At first listen, “Steakhouse” doesn’t seem too deep. I first saw it alongside its accompanying music video (which features Darth Vader and kids dressed up as Batman and Luke Skywalker), and besides the catchy, off-putting refrain of There’s a party at the steakhouse, and you’re invited, I didn’t take away much. However, after a couple repeat listens, it clicked. The bright, four-minute pop-rocker serves as a modern interpretation of Jesus’ prodigal son parable, in which a son foolishly blows his inheritance but is welcomed back to his family with a feast that includes a calf. That creative spin and the friendly, commercial-ready tone make it the standout of the EP.
The other two cuts are solid tracks as well. While there’s not much to obsess over on “Oh Darling,” it’s got a solid hook that will stick even if nothing else about it does. “Church of the Unloved” is a story-based song about people with tumultuous relationships with their parents. Once again, it pairs a story and a catchy (albeit repetitive) hook with satisfying results. Plus, it has a well-paced string section that meshes well with the emotions being conveyed.
The only drawback for the EP as a whole is that some lyrics get lost due to some insufficiently enunciated lyrics here and there. Plus, if you’re not a fan of Christian rock or having religious themes in your music, this may come off as a very “safe” album, but that just comes down to your personal preference. Regardless, LeAnder members say they have a “God-given desire” to play music, and based on the results of this first release, they’re following the right path.
Invictus is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify and Soundcloud.