Alex Lahey’s sophomore album exudes sheer energy. An album that is honest, emotional, self-aware and still ends with hope.
And frankly, we love it!
YMR Album Rating: ***** (5/5)
The second album can be the difficult one. In 2017 Lahey released her debut album I Love You Like A Brother, where she received critical acclaim that also met with modest commercial success.With this follow up, Lahey took on the diligent task of writing songs every day whilst residing in Nashville, USA. Being away from Australia, has Lahey reflecting on her life with songs that exude energy, contain catchy hooks and give us a glimpse of a woman that is maturing as a person but also as an accomplished songwriter. Being on the road and constantly away can be hard, where absence can compromise emotional relationships at home, and cause havoc with your mental state.
Lahey’s maturity is exemplified with the leading energetic track ‘I Don’t Get Invited To Parties Anymore’ – Lahey traveling around the world in pursuit of gaining exposure for her music has meant that she has left friends behind in Australia. The resultant being that putting her “social life on ice” has meant that some people are no longer inviting her to parties. The obligations of growing her career versus the sheer fun of partying. Alas, it is hard getting older! The responsibilities! This track has a distinct 80’s sound, as it rises and falls with Lahey pondering “I’ve lost track/It’s caught me by surprise“.
‘Am I Doing It Right’ opens with synth sounds and then morphs into a sound reminiscent of the band Heart. The song has Lahey in tour mode, leaving people behind – again that conflict of the pursuit of success contrasting with the people that are left behind at home – those emotional relationships that need attention. Hotel rooms and touring and making “everyone move” – is the success she is trying to achieve alienating people at home? Lahey battles with this, as she laments “I’ve been complacent/Of seeing what I want/Can we, we pick it up from where we left off?“
The third track ‘Interior Demeanour’ has that indie rock sound that Lahey makes her own, her guitar providing the punctuation to her music. A song that tackles mental issues and the importance of dealing with these issues – she concedes that “I don’t need a prescription/But my disposition has never been so low” – with this song you wonder how success can impact – meeting some musicians you can tell that it can be a hard slog – the maturity of Lahey shows that she is self-aware to know that she needs to deal with it. This maturity of awareness comes in handy with the next track ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ – with Lahey this time giving advice to a friend, incorporating a surprising, yet effective, saxophone solo (played by Lahey herself). As Lahey indicates in the media release for the album “I hadn’t played sax for so long and there was an element of it being a bit tongue in cheek…but I think more than anything it pays homage to my past.”
‘Unspoken History’ – is a piano led song, that shows off Lahey’s vocals. A song that seems to reflect on the change of a relationship – that feeling of change, where the relationship becomes too self-conscious that it can no longer work; but at the same time not wanting to lose that person. A gorgeous song that encapsulates the transience of friendships that are so special, but slowly fade away.
Ballad time is over with ‘Misery Guts’ – complete with a sharp punk riff and explosion of sound which has Lahey in pissed off mode. The anger is palatable with Lahey singing “You’ve got champagne taste on a beer budget/You say you like things when you really just judge it” – on ‘Interior Demeanour’ Lahey bemoans her lack of assertiveness – this song seems to debunk that observation! The song is short, sharp and effective.
The diversity of the album continues with a Beatles reverie with the track ‘Isabella”. A sweet track that is a paean to a wonderful friend with many talents. Pure pop, but pop with heart.
‘I Need To Move On’ again shows Lahey’s honesty and maturity as a songwriter. A post break-up song that swirls with the anguish of regret and loss of losing someone, immersed with visions of bars, one night stands and suburbia. The song swirls with a wall of sound that makes you feel immersed in the track – this song, like most of the album, is beautifully produced by Catherine Marks.
If this album deals with conflict, it ends with some sunshine and hope, evidenced with ‘Black RM’s’, where Lahey sings about the person she loves, the one with the “cow lick“and the “black RM’s“. The song is unashamedly happy, with music that is Rumours reimagined. The last track ‘I Want to Live With You’ continues with hope and lamenting on, potentially, aspiring to some sort of domestic bliss with Lahey exclaiming “I like the thought of being the one you come home to“. In times of darkness, there is always that hope.
The Best Of Luck Club is an exceptional album, showing an artist that is continually strengthening her musical instincts and most importantly, showing advancement in her songwriting. An album that is honest, emotional, self-aware, but ends with a distinct feeling of hope and love. Certainly a contender for one of the best albums of the year – Alex is touring this album this year, and based on the strength of The Best Of Luck Club, her shows should not be missed.
The Best Of Luck Club is out on May 17 (Nicky Boy Records/Caroline Australia).
Alex Lahey Tour Tickets: https://handsometours.com/tours/alex-lahey/