I Love You Like A Brother might just be the start-of-summer pop/rock album you didn’t know you needed. Melbourne artist Alex Lahey gears up with your favourite punk/rock dynamics, then adds all too real life observations and some super sweet backing vocals.
The Push Mentoring Program alumnae, Alex Lahey, sold her much loved 1999 blue Toyota Corolla to pay for her first single ‘Air Mail’. This dedication introduced us to her fun, melodic, guitar driven hooks and catchy choruses. Lahey’s ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ from last year’s ‘B-Grade University’ EP was picked up on Triple J in 2016 and soon after the song was featured on Pitchfork as Best New Track. Lahey then played 2016 Splendour In The Grass, went on tour with indie sisters Tegan & Sara and signed with U.S label Dead Oceans. Released 6th October from her own label Nicky Boy Records, multi-instrumentalist Lahey now presents a fully loaded debut album that is easily loveable and has the perfect fizzy glass-half-empty tunes to sing along with.
This album is filled with great hooks and the second track – I Love You Like A Brother – has ‘em. The guitar led melody combined with lyrics about actually becoming friends with your sibling, is like an arrow straight to the heart. This fun, boppy rock song is reminiscent of The Strokes ‘Room on Fire’ and definitely brings some warm feelings. I Love You Like A Brother is a compelling mix of nostalgic storytelling and “…things could get heavy…” but overall it’s great feel-good tune.
Track five, ‘Backpack’, is a subtle yet obvious heartbreaker that stands out because it is so relatable and evocative. The yearning choruses “…you move faster than the world spins ’round…” are the subtle but plain to see kind of short story telling Lahey excels in. There’s brass in this song! That’s right, so listen out for those summery, golden sounds that merge quite well with some serious electric guitar. Lahey played saxophone in high school and spent time playing with Melbourne group Animaux. She showcases her awesome musical skills in the progression of the killer instrumental break in ‘Backpack’.
Song nine ‘Let’s Call It A Day’ has 1960s girl group vibes featuring sweet “ooooh”s, “aaaah”s and “do-waaap”s. It stays real with some awesome fuzz pedal and clean bass lines that give you that nice, summer feeling like bare feet on warm wooden floorboards. ‘Let’s Call It A Day’ has lyrics like “I kinda like you but I don’t like you, you like yourself too much” that make Lahey’s music wholly individual, a little bit sardonic and completely charming.
Alex Lahey has a fun, relatable, energetic vibe that makes her the down to earth, cool music nerd you wished you were friends with. The story-teller type lyrics are filled with casual life observations that make this album completely human. The pop elements of this album serve it well and make it a highly focused debut. Catchy choruses and melodies keep the message clear, the strong beats and pedal use make this album an easy to listen to winner of a debut – just sit back and relax.
Review by Juliette Noonan