In the indie music scene, it’s easy to get lost the melancholic sorrows that seem to be a staple for many artists. Personally, I’m guilty of favoring the often depressing or self-deprecating tunes. That’s why I surprised myself when I came across and fell in love with a band like Lanikai.

The alt-pop project from former award-winning indie group Imaginary Cities member Marti Sarbit, Lanikai gets its name from the tropical Hawaiian beach. The Winnipeg-based group plays a distinctively bright and hopeful sound led by Sarbit’s soaring and sun-kissed vocals.  No stranger to the gloomy, Lanikai’s sound finds a balance between the calm and the stormy. Though they aren’t afraid to touch on the melancholic, each track lingers with an uplifting tone.

Their 2016 debut self-titled EP, seemed to come out of nowhere, but it quickly started to gain attention. Quickly bursting through the shadow of the success of Imaginary Cities, this EP can stand on its own two feet. Songs like “I’m Glad” and “I Need Love” are perfect examples of Lanikai’s talent. Stylistic songwriting bounces through the swelling and uplifting instrumentation. The EP features guest players from Sloan, the Sheepdogs, and the Stills, which goes to further their impressive sound.



Their most recent single “Motor Inn”, is their best yet in my opinion. Starting with a simple organ progression and building to a full headed chorus with Sarbit’s unrelenting voice. This song is a good indication of the potential they have and where they’ll be going.

Though they have no Toronto shows announced for the forsee-able future, I’d be surprised if they won’t be making in down sometime soon. If you need a little pick me up today then lay back put on some Lanikai and let them wash over you.