Alex Lahey - I Love You Like A Brother

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:7 Release Date:2017-10-06
Alex Lahey - I Love You Like A Brother
Alex Lahey - I Love You Like A Brother

Alex Lahey is back with a full-length album to follow-up last year’s impressive EP B Grade University. As with that effort, this new one, I Love You Like A Brother, is chock full of up-tempo, lonely-hearts, garage-pop-sugar that made that EP so utterly irresistible. Alas, poor Alex – if her songwriting is indicative, this woman has terrible luck with relationships. Thankfully, she turns her sadness into catchy, wry, self-effacing, and even mildly cringe-inducing manifestos on how screwed up love can be.

“Every Day’s the Weekend” picks up where the EP left off, a pulsing anthem full of choral shout-outs and kinetic rhythms. The earworm title track actually is about her brother so, if there’s a joke there, I’m not getting it. “Perth Traumatic Disorder Syndrome,” addresses the issues of falling out of love with someone in a way that ruins everything about them, including where they live: “Perth, you’re lucky that you’re pretty, otherwise I’d hate that city…I’ve got to visit somewhere new, now forever tainted cuz of you.” It becomes quickly apparent that Lahey is playing to her strengths, but over the course of ten songs, there is a sense of filler in a few places.

There are three very strong, encouraging moments on Love You Like A Brother however, starting with “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself,” the closest to the perfect mix of heartbreak and empathy that coursed through her previous EP. For Alex Lahey (as for many of us), relationships can be unknowingly self-destructive, a sign that she has begun looking deeper into the emotional dynamics involved in relationship failures; “Distracting me from what’s important, but you don’t care that I’m losing focus.” The bittersweet “Backpack” stays the lyrical formula but mixes up the melody enough to allow it to stand out from the rest, and “There’s No Money” closes things out on a poignant note.

On this lovely finale, Lahey skips the chugging predictability in order to slow things down, thus allowing her aching voice to deliver a salt of the earth tale that requires no confection to succeed. It’s a fine finish to an album that adds to her blossoming portfolio, one that needs greater experimentation and less safety. There are enough hints on this album that she’s broadening her musical perspective, so let’s see if Alex Lahey continues expanding her vision beyond sugar-frosted broken hearts.

 

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