Formed in late 2016, Los Angeles pair Lean produce indie dance rock with sophistication. When the coalition of Kyle McCammon and Stephen Johnson realized that their communal love for 90s hip-hop and indie rock was an ideal match upon meeting, the twosome decided to set out and make music together. With these influences in mind, as well as “Stephen’s ear for hooks,” as McCammon had previously mentioned, Lean have constructed their vibrant debut LP entitled, Years. The self-produced record may be built upon their influencers and inspirations, however, as you trek down this near pitch-perfect alt-pop endeavor, you’ll hear a renewed sound that’s emerged inside this congested genre. Lean is obviously in the early stages of their trajectory, but their 11-track compilation moves along briskly with poise, confidence, and some of the catchiest and most authentic indie-pop tunes the year has to offer thus far.

Years is arriving at an idyllic time as tracks like ‘Come Back’ and ‘Heat Wave’ offer shimmering sounds to carry you through this forthcoming summer. These tracks, as well as several others found here, supply the listener with a darker edge on the boundaries of indie-pop. Ignoring the route of mawkish indie pop that seems to be a trend lately, Lean looks elsewhere and comes up with something much more authentic. The song ‘Inaction’ symbolizes LA life with lyrics such as “Appearances are easy if you only wanna look good.” This line could speak to a young and older generation—with millennials only being concerned with the frivolous things in life and an older group seeking the fountain of youth at the nearest surgeon’s office.

‘Hurt a Little’ is a jangly number showing the lush depths of Lean in their indie-pop wheelhouse. Rich guitar chords, frosty bass lines, and infectious synths buoy this strained relationship-centric track. ‘Lucid Dreams’ is the most ethereal track off of Years. An easy, breezy, and soothing song that is perfect if lying on a hammock or walking in the sand reflecting about life’s choices and chances. Peaceful, but emotionally stimulating, this early released track (which was their first single in the beginning of 2017) is the band’s finest hour among some solid offerings. ‘Want This’ is the quintessential song at a concert with hand-clapping built-in with its first minute of play. It’s a vivacious, contemplative journey and with lyrics like, “I can’t keep track of all these different versions of me,” it’s completely relatable for their listeners.

Penultimate track, ‘On The Fence’, is another relaxed contribution to Years. Like nearly every song here, it’s a beautiful reminder of summer—perhaps becoming the newest soundtrack to one’s life for this period of the year. ‘On The Fence’ shines with bouncy beats, airy guitars, and synths that feel like that they came straight down from heaven. The closing track off Years is ‘Drift’ – a piano driven effort that is chilling and emotionally hefty. A brooding and intensely introspective song, ‘Drift’ is a complete departure from the preceding ten tracks from tone to songwriting. In fact, it’s so surprising that it kind of makes you think what if Lean decided to craft an album more akin to ‘Drift’. Either way, count me in, as this finale is both grand and unexpected, two words that rarely describe indie-pop in its present state.