Lontalius Eddie Johnston’s much anticipated debut album is nothing short of what was expected. Opener A Feeling So Sweet sets the self-reflective, almost melancholic tone of the nine tracks to come. Being recorded all over the place (Roundhead in Auckland, STL in Wellington, Toybox Studios in Bristol, as well as various people’s homes), helps this to really feel like a combination of experiences. The album focuses at times on heavy ambient textures, most notably at the end of I Was More Than leading into Yr Heart Is Beating, with soft pads sitting underneath a glockenspiel, wind chimes-esque pattern.
That in mind, there are quite a few songs that drive forward strongly. Single Glow pushes at the front of the beat until the end of the song when it leaps into a soothing halftime section, while My Dreams Are Dark begins with a pulsing kick for half the song, following into some simple drum production, reminiscent of Drake. The majority of the album was performed with Johnston’s bandmates; Miles Sutton, Daniel McBride and Taylor Groves, also featuring performances from Ike Zwanikken, Grayson Gilmour, Beth Porter, Daisy Chapman, Dave Collingwood and Ali Chant (who also mixed and produced the album). From the humble beginnings of recording covers in his bedroom, considering his young age, Wellingtonian Eddie Johnston has come a deceptively long way to this album debut. Not only was it well worth the wait, but ‘I’ll Forget 17’ solidifies a nice foundation for Lontalius’ future as a major artist.