For Fans Of
It’s an unfortunate situation when a band, for whatever reason – lack of creativity, urge to “play it safe”, what have you – remains content to stick to genre conventions and clichés in their recorded material. Such tendencies can often lend themselves to bland, hackneyed songwriting that fails to create interest. For Philadelphia punks Restorations, this is something avoided with defiance. With ‘LP2‘, the plainly titled sophomore album from the band, Restorations have taken what they can within the general scope of “punk rock” while crafting something that is so refreshingly unique that it flat out refuses to allow itself to fit neatly into any one box.
Album opener ‘D’ sets the tone for the record, beginning with a wailing, drone-like guitar melody before crashing into a rambunctious, energetic and hearty rock song that introduces us to some of the more immediately noticeable elements to be found on ‘LP2‘. It’s always been pretty difficult to pin down Restorations‘ sound and definitely, it’s an incredibly versatile record, but there’s still real semblance of direction to be found on ‘LP2‘. Classic American rock influence bleeds through pretty strongly – be it in the big, anthemic guitar riffs, or vocalist Jon Loudon‘s gruff howl, reminiscent of Springsteen or Ragan. Lyrically, ‘LP2‘ focuses on relatable, heartfelt, descriptive themes that innately fit with Loudon‘s voice and the band’s sound in general, and are one of the most resonant aspects of the album – “You can hear it next door / that low, long rumble / someone’s laughing, maybe crying. / Maybe both”.
In saying that, it’d be naïve to lump Restorations in directly with the crop of vaguely punk-centric groups that draw inspiration from that older rock style – The Gaslight Anthem, The Menzingers et al. While both great bands, and there’s obvious comparisons to be made between the three, what Restorations are doing on ‘LP2‘ feels like it exists well outside of those sort of boundaries. There’s tinges of ethereal post-rock on tracks like ‘Civil Inattention’ and ‘In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe’. There’s the slick, grungy edge of ‘Kind of Comfort’ and ‘Quit’. What is made clear as a result is the way Restorations have taken this host of tools and rather than simply present them as the sum of their parts, or coming across as convoluted, be able to develop a knack at taking these influences and making them their own. This is, first and foremost, a distinctive record.
The things that are more striking about ‘LP2‘ come through both in the diversity and strength of the tracks presented – each song sounds like it fits in with the grand scheme of things while standing confident on their own, separate and individual – as well as how impressively big and full everything sounds. Producer Jonathon Low has absolutely nailed the sort of sonic environment that allows these tracks to fully breathe; standing comfortably in the middle of an intimate, well-worn garage and a stadium rock arena.
With ‘LP2’, Restorations have made an album that firmly positions them as being an important voice in contemporary punk rock. Their ability to take from such a wide scope of influence and combine them in a way that feels wholly ambitious and impressively unique secures LP2’s an early place in this writer’s favourite records of 2013.
2. Let’s Blow Up the Sun
3. Civil Inattention
4. Kind of Comfort
5. In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe
6. New Old
8. The Plan
9. Adventure Tortoise