I’m disappointed… that this album has only 5 songs on it, because I want more! The Black Hills is easily going to be one of my top 3 albums of 2016, without a doubt. A few months ago, LAYNE teased us with their video for “Good” and I couldn’t get enough; listening to that song on repeat and adding it to every playlist I made. Our demands for more were met when the band decided to self-release their new EP The Black Hills to bring it to us faster than waiting for the right record deal. Personally, I think this was a great idea, partially because it means I get new music faster but also because LAYNE kinda have their own sound and I would be worried about how some label reps would try to change them into something a little more “radio friendly”.
While their sound is definitely their own, best described as dystopian indie-pop, I could see them fitting in with someone like Tove Lo (*cough please make this a future tour cough*). I find myself getting lost in these songs, only to reawaken 20 minutes later when the EP has ended (and usually restarted for another round or five soon after).
While her voice is silky smooth with a unique hint of grit and easy to fall in love with, Layne Putnam is not your typical pop starlet; far from it actually. Aside from her edgier style, she is a music mastermind. On The Black Hills, she wrote, recorded (both vocals and instruments) and co-produced the songs; not something you see with most female artists. Finding inspiration by her surroundings in both LA and her hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, she has pieced together a lyrical realness accompanied by whimsical melodies that take you on a journey.
Not to go unnoticed, Alexander Rosca’s drum beats compliment the songs perfectly without overpowering them. These two are definitely a match made in musical heaven. While I know The Black Hills will be playing constantly anytime I listen to music, I’m already excited about future releases from LAYNE and I can’t wait to witness this awesomeness live in concert.
There is so much emotion felt in these songs I feel like there will be an electric connection between the band and fans (including myself) at their shows. Do yourself a favor and pick up/download a copy of this album and if they happen to be playing in your city go check them out and tell me what you thought. If you’re anything like me, you will be head over heels for them <3