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Released on October 28, 2014 via SideOneDummy
Recently I asked someone what kind of music they were into (lethal business, I know). The reply was quick and definite: ‘Rock Music’.
I didn’t dare to push and ask this person to reveal a bit more of their musical inclinations. I don’t know why I asked in the first place as in my ideal world, people would never talk about music (ahem) unless they completely agreed with me about everything. The whole thing is like smoking a cigarette; it seems like a great idea at first but then as soon as you are done you realise you’re still unsatisfied and pissed off at the world.
As soon as I heard the words ‘Rock Music’, my mind immediately went to a place where ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Best of You’ are played on an infinite loop. No disrespect intended to the aforementioned bands who wrote those songs, but the words have become so overused over the years that they have simply fallen to represent any guitar based song that you have heard over a thousand times. Now, Restorations have been called ‘post punk, ‘punk’ and even ‘indie rock’. However, if I were forced to describe Restorations’ logically titled third album, LP3, in two words I would probably come up with ‘rock music’.
If you took anything from my previous rambling, that may sound like I’m trying to say Restorations are utter blandness but I’m not. This is just my quiet attempt to reinvent the phrase to be synonymous with excitement and passion again (like the good ol’ days). You will have no issues with finding a bit of zest in LP3. If your muse is big, big vocal choruses and gargantuan guitar lines then take a seat. Album opener, ‘Wales’ will try its hardest to split you in two; even when played quietly it mystically fills up a room, mostly thanks to Carlin Brown’s bawling drumming and Dan Zimmerman’s infectiously cheeky bass line. The same can be said for the hellishly catchy ‘No Castle’ and the riffy ‘Tiny Prayers’: These are songs that immediately hit boiling point and never stray far from it.
Amidst the thunder, there are also times when Restorations convey a real sense of melancholy and a unusual mix of loud yearning. ‘All My Home’ particularly stands up to this description with lead vocalist, Josh Laudon, really showing the emotional range of his ‘whiskey and marbles’ vocals. Laudon possesses a voice that manages to effectively carry off ‘mud and grit’ with a modicum of sensitivity and despair. This is essentially what gives Restorations a significant tipping point and makes them a band that have something interesting to offer listeners.
Perhaps it would be asking too much from Restorations to deviate too far from what works very well for them, but although LP3 is a relentless hyper drive, a full listen can be wearying. Maybe it is my timid ears talking but LP3 is best listened to in small but powerful doses. It would be unfair of me to say that the album is a purely one dimensional affair but the tone of LP3 is firmly rooted. Nevertheless, Restorations are certainly not short of ideas; The aforementioned ‘All My Home’ is a prime example of this. ‘Separate Songs’ also offers respite after the roaring ‘Wales’.
LP3 is not a shy album. There is certainly never any doubt over what Restorations are trying to achieve with it. The crux of the matter is that if you like your music to fill your ears, then LP3 is as good a candidate as any to satisfy.