On this, the band's fifth album, as on the others before it, Lanterna offers up a sensuous mix of undulating, ethereal melodies; shimmering synths; and propulsive rhythms — a beautiful blend that combines new-age notions with an irresistible embrace. Hypnotic and transfixing, it unfolds as a series of mesmerizing melodies glazed over with atmospheric ambiance. Henry Frayne provides the sparkle of acoustic and electric guitars as well as the washes of keyboards, while drummer Eric Gebow underscores this scintillating brew with a compelling pulse. Tracks such as "Luminous," "Venture," "Hope," and "Messina" feature a lush instrumental interplay that doesn't depend on vocals or catchy choruses to weave its way into the consciousness. Unlike most music that follows this formula, Lanterna's approach lends both mood and groove, allowing the music to blend into the background or open itself up for closer concentration. Either way, Desert Ocean offers a rewarding journey through a sensuous soundscape.
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Lee Zimmerman