• 9. Restorations "LP5000"

    9. Restorations "LP5000"

    “LP5000” is the sound of a band thriving under the repressive restraints of western capitalism, learning to do more with less.


    I’m probably biting off more than I can chew, here. (Killer opening salvo, tho.)

    I have about a half-dozen vaguely disparate thoughts about Restorations as a band and about their new album and its content, and maybe we can parse through how I’m feeling about them by listing them out:

    1. Especially in the overarching pop-punk umbrella (but I’m sure also true in most other music genres), bands become godfathers in a sonic style, then either dissolve or fall to the wayside, at which point others come up behind to pick up the mantle. A good example of this would be Weatherbox’s “American Art” (2007), which came out around five months before Say Anything’s follow-up to their masterpiece “...is a Real Boy” (2004), the clunky and waaaay overambitious “In Defense of the Genre” (2007) (also, that title, woof). “American Art” sounded like Say Anything, but actually more so, and better, and more visceral, more volatile. While Bemis was Caden Cotard-ing himself into a corner, Weatherbox’s Brian Warren was just beginning to spread open his sonic pallet. All of this to say that, reductively speaking, Restorations sounds like a revamped, debugged, 2.0 version of The Gaslight Anthem, or has for a while. That’s a slight and unfair comparison, but hopefully you’re tracking my logic.

    2. The only time I’ve ever seen Restorations, they were touring with Weatherbox. Apropos to my example in (1), in case you skipped ahead, in which case, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

    3. (unrelated but the point I’m making in (1) is gonna come up again in a few days, sorry in advance if you hate it)

    4. I don’t know that much about the rust belt, but I’ve been to Akron a few times.

    5. "LP5000" follows the G.O.O.D. Music album model here in 2018, albeit I’m guessing unintentionally -- seven tracks, under a half-hour in running time. Which is also to say you kinda have no excuse if you haven’t listened to this yet. If you’d started at (1) you’d probably be done by the time we finish here (if you read slow enough). There is an essential economy to this. This body of work is distilled down to an essence; only the required moments are included. Only one track on “LP5000” runs longer than 4 minutes; in contrast, only 3 of the 9 tracks on their previous full length, “LP3” (2014) clock under 4 minutes. Bonus points if you caught that disparity.

    6. Maybe “LP5000” is a protest album. Maybe it’s literally about the 2016 election. Maybe Ian Cohen really wants you to believe that. Maybe the band has said as much. Maybe who cares. Where Restorations was fairly literal in their lyrical approach in the past, this latest offering finds narration switching from third- to first-person within two lines of a chorus, characters talking in disjointed scenes like snippets from a trailer for a movie that is probably gonna do pretty good at Sundance. Scenes blur in surreal, jagged descriptions, abstracted phrases and metaphoric landscapes presented like the gutted remains of a town that was once an industrial powerhouse, now ravaged by poverty and cheap overseas labor. And we’re in our 30s now, and we long for those days in our twenties when we could go with all our friends (oh my god, we had so many friends, we knew so many people) to the abandoned factory/processing warehouse/mill (?) that some of our other friends had converted into an art gallery to display the work they created about their town that is dying, that has been dying forever (or as long as we can remember, our lives still young), which is every town at some point in your twenties, even if it’s thriving in urban renewal sprawl we really know, at its heart, the pulse is waning --

    7. -- and when Jon Loudon growls: “I love your protest lines / Oh, but who has the time? / We all saw the same thing at the same time, okay? / Got a partner for starters / And a kid on the way / Can’t be doing all this dumb shit no more,” well, you’re either gutted or unfazed, or maybe it hits too close to home; this short, brilliant album of Philly strength and strife an allegorical reflection of exhaustion experienced in pockets all across this country. But what to do but wake up, look at our phones, sigh, and go on with our day.