Lost John are masters of restraint and subtlety. The band knows what it is, how it sounds, and doesn’t try to do too much. And that’s what makes it so great. On the Fayetteville outfit’s second album, Let It Be Strange, Lost John lets its best shine through: a hypnotic blend of folk, country, indie rock and dual-part harmonies from lead vocalist/guitarist Eric Witthans and Meredith Kimbrough.
The lead single and the album’s title track, “Let it Be Strange,” is a beautiful, Wilco-like relaxed number that features subdued keys (played by Lee Zodrow), subtle guitars and percussion, and delicate vocals. It’s a good tone-setter for an entire record full of tunes that will likely get a lot of air time from folks looking to zone out and lose themselves in the music.
Lyrically, this album centers more or less on two main themes — comfort and acceptance. Being comfortable and accepting of yourself and your own situation and those of your friends and loved ones. We’re all imperfect individuals, but if we all play to our own strengths we’ll be OK. That’s what the songs on Let it Be Strange do. They offer compelling storytelling with Witthans, Kimbrough, Zodrow providing captivating musical accompaniment, rounded out by Brad Haj on drums, Grand D’Aubin on bass and Baron Lyle on fiddle.
Songs like “Long Time Coming” and “Minibike” are so perfect in how they can get you lost in thought, thanks to the musical backdrop, but on a second or third listen, when you circle back to listen to the lyrics, you’ll find the narrator (Witthans) speaking on topics like love, heartbreak, friendship and the human condition. And each song is like that. They’re all unique in drawing you in musically, but hooking you with a great story.
Overall, Lost John’s “Let it Be Strange” offers a refreshing approach to songwriting. They know what works for them and they do it well. And they want their songs to mean something, but leave it up to their listener on how they want to interpret it. It’s nice when music can do that naturally. It makes it more approachable, which is exactly what this record is. It’s a great, approachable record, with well-crafted songs that make you feel good when you listen to it