The third album from Jean-Phillip Grobler’s St. Lucia is Hyperion and it really capitalizes on the success that Grobler and co. found with their last record, Matter. Working with producer Rob Kirwan, St. Lucia took what they did so well on their last record and infused it with the producer’s experience in incorporating traditional instrumentation. The result is an album that plays like it was released in 1988 instead of 2018.
As far as the traditional instrumentation goes, maybe that’s overstated. Don’t get me wrong, the horn work accents some of Grobler’s melodies perfectly and this record has some of the warmest-sounding piano that I’ve heard in a long time, but at this album’s core it’s still very much St. Lucia; the band’s just better at making music than they were six years ago. “Paradise is Waiting” and “Bigger” implement the piano so well that they contrast songs like “A Brighter Love” and “Walking Away” in big ways. What’s interesting is that the whole album – whether they’re doing some of that instrumentation or whether they’re synth-heavy, sounds like an 80’s record. It’s this weird hybrid of Genesis, St. Lucia, and Billy Joel that’s wrapped up into something unique and fun.
St. Lucia’s third album Hyperion is different in countless ways from their last album Matter, except the only one that matters. This album is as good as that album was and there’s plenty of songs here to come back to and listen to over and over. Grobler and his mates did some outstanding work here and the variety of the music compiled with the surprise of the sound will win plenty of people over.