Heartache has been a lyrical muse since words were first set to music, and is sure to continue as such in ten thousand years when everyone lives on a space station and all meals are consumed through eyeball injections. Paul Klein, the frontman of LANY, just entered the last year of his twenties a couple months ago, and his band’s self-titled full-length debut feels like a going-away party for romantic immaturity before the beginning of one’s fourth, and hopefully more levelheaded, decade. The problem is that for any rare moment of genuineness, there’s several empty platitudes or cringe-inducing attempts at wit, without any sign that Klein has taken away anything from his experiences, beyond improbably finding fifteen different ways to express a decidedly limited palette of sentiments.

To be fair, LANY reads less like a breakup album and more like a multi-faceted ‘relationship album’ checking off events like initial infatuation, fights and yes, breakups. Don’t be fooled by the naming of the second track (‘The Breakup’), as the lovesickness continues long after that. Listening to LANY is like listening to the woes of someone in the most boring on-again off-again relationship of all-time. It’s not readily apparent just how many relationships Klein is referencing here, but when the depth of the affection in a romantic relationship is staying up late and talking about “dumb stuff” (on opener ‘Dumb Stuff’), it’s difficult to conjure any semblance of involvement. Just about anyone who’s ever been in love can relate to such a feeling. It’s so trite that you can’t help but wonder if it was supposed to be a lyrical placeholder that never got revised.

The further down the rabbit hole you go with LANY, the more you realize that ‘Dumb Stuff’ is an apt description for the majority of the lyrics. Moments when Klein aren’t singing are few and far between, and the vast majority of the songs have at least one moment that inspire thoughts of “Wait, what?” The bouncing synth melody of ‘Overtime’ is spoiled by his coy crooning of “I want to love it but I just can’t/ Shot down when our souls began to dance,” making a good case for a temporary halt to the use of words like ‘soul’ and ‘dance’ in pop music. ‘Flowers on the Floor’ has one of the album’s more engaging choruses, but also Klein’s pleading to a lover that they “Open up [their] head/ wanna swim around that tumultuous brain.” This is for all intents and purposes expressed in a moment of romantic anguish, but it’s all but impossible to hear such a line and not be completely baffled by what he’s attempting to convey. Then again, when Klein is more direct about his lyrical inspiration, he ends up with a woman-as-a-storm metaphor with the most unfortunate title this side of Pukahontas: ‘Hericane’.

Lyrical cheese in a polished synth-pop album such as this can certainly be welcomed. It just needs to possess a sincerity that Klein and the rest of the band aren’t presenting. On ‘ILYSB’ (“I love you so bad”) he relates a kitchen light to a disco ball and talks about being “hella obsessed” with a partner’s face. Miraculously, this is one of the few moments that feel genuine. Slightly embarrassing? Sure, but it has a disarming charisma that’s far preferable to the sogginess of ‘Hurts’ (“Here I am back to my old ways/ Frozen with my thoughts wasting all my younger days”) or the general incomprehension of ‘Pancakes’ (“The way those old Levi’s look on ya/ Got me thinking ‘Damn, I’m in’”).

Thanks to the skills of Klein and his bandmates (Les Priest and Jake Goss) in creating by-the-numbers synth-pop and enough variety in the tracklisting to balance somber songs like ‘Tampa’ with sassier numbers like ‘Super Far’, LANY is certainly listenable and its hour run-time isn’t a total drag (grating voicemail interlude ‘Parents’ notwithstanding). There’s just a deficit of substance in an album that practically seems to be begging for you to feel something. On closing track, ‘It Was Love,’ Klein prefaces a statement with “Never mind, this is stupid.” He should’ve listened to his own advice more on this album.