III, the cleverly-titled third album by LiLa, once again shows listeners the strength of the Triangle’s hip hop scene. The ensemble, which consists of Jon LeSueur (keyboard/vocals), Eli McDuffee (emcee), Griffin Wade (drums), RoSean Franks (bass), Kyle Cox (guitar), and Michael Petersen (trombone), has shown tremendous growth in the past year. Since the release of their previous record II, the band has played numerous local shows in the Triangle, while working on writing for their latest album. As LiLa navigates the sound for their III, it’s clear that they didn’t diverge too much from the framework of II.
While the band’s second album relies heavily on keyboards with subtle hints of drums, such as the example “Out With A Bang”, their third album takes a more whimsical approach as heard in “8-Bit Kid”. The mellow introduction of each track leads to a steady uprising of smooth lyrics and drums, their trademark keyboards, guitar, and bass subtly rounding out the sound.The band exhibits a smart approach to their latest collection, as they discuss topics from the end of relationships to politics. The cohesion of instruments coexists harmoniously with the the lyrically-inclined group. Listeners can practically find themselves drawn into the lyrics alone, as they continue to be the strongest trait in each of their records.
LiLa hints at these lyrical inclinations in “The Settlement”, which opens with the quiet building of drums and guitar. Through the progression of the song, listeners hear a couple’s disagreements build immensely before coming to a quiet end. From “Dark Matter”, which is whisper-quiet in its introduction, to “Heart to Heart”, which is the most upbeat track on the record, it’s clear that the band has exhibited tremendous growth since their previous album.
III concludes with “McDude”, which works wonderfully to wrap up this straight-forward album. As LiLa’s beacon of light persists, listeners can continue to hear a new approach to the Triangle’s music scene.
Haven’t had a chance to hear the new record? Check out “Heart to Heart” below.
III is available now via iTunes and Bandcamp. For more information on LiLa, including their upcoming show dates, visit lilawho.com.