You know the old American show ‘Cheers’? The one set in the aptly named ‘Cheers’ bar, featuring Ted Danson, Kirstie Alley, Woody Harrelson and everyone’s favourite radio show hosting psychologist (well before he couldn’t work out what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs). Anyway, the bar that is Cheers is the place you go where everybody knows your name. A place where you can unwind with people you know (or don’t know) and they’ll treat you all the same either way. A place where you can talk to anyone, and part ways at the end with a simple ‘best of luck’. Here on The Best of Luck Club, Alex Lahey has brought together every facet of those bars and put together ten tracks that have formed the basis of an album she describes as being a part of a year with ‘the highest highs and the lowest lows.’
On TBOLC, the prodigiously talented and always great Lahey continues on the path she laid with her debut, I Love You Like A Brother. While you can definitely still pick up on the wit and general bounce you’ve come to expect from Lahey, TBOLC shows a move to more mature and complete sound for the Melbourne artist. It’s obvious that in the two years since ILYLAB was released that a lot has changed for Lahey. Whether it is relationships, her views on the music industry, or general growth as a person, Lahey has managed to pull together ten songs that are consistent in their appeal, sound and overall quality.
Upon the first listen of TBOLC, it feels like there’s a definite separation in the album. The first half are generally your more progressive, rock-driven tracks; whereas the second half are more inclined to follow the similar pop sounds you may have heard on Lahey’s earlier releases. While I still maintain that divide is still there, the more you listen to it, the more likely you are to realise that the album is best listened to as a whole. Yes, there are tracks that instantly stand out (namely lead single “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”). But overall, it’s your album tracks, the deeper cuts, that provide TBOLC with its most rewarding moments.
“Interior Demeanour” has a definite early Weezer vibe to it, with Lahey delivering her verse vocals as monotone as Rivers Cuomo does, with the chorus soaring, before the simple yet satisfying guitar solo in the bridge sets it up for the big finish over the last minute. When Lahey first emerged on the scene, she copped a heap of comparisons to Courtney Barnett. Generally, that was lazy journalism and writing (“oh look, she plays guitar, sings and has very observational lyrics; she’s exactly like Barnett)”. With that in mind, and taking everything I’ve just said with a grain of salt, “Misery Guts” is a two-and-half minute punch of punk that I’m sure Barnett would have been stoked to make. Very much reminiscent of Barnett’s “Pedestrian at Best”, the lyrics are a not-so-subtle dig at a miserable sod that is seemingly bringing everyone in their life (Lahey included) down. It’s a brutal take on a relationship or friendship we’ve all had at one point.
Moving away from the relentlessness of “Misery Guts”, is the pure pop sounds of “Isabella”, a piano-led platonic love song about someone who is seemingly the best person in the world. The light of any interaction, your idea of a fun time and genuinely great person, “Isabella” is a fun and not entirely expected turn for Lahey. With the piano/keys taking precedent throughout the entirety of the track, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in a live setting.
“I Need to Move On” floats by as Lahey genuinely feels torn about wanting to be with someone, whilst also knowing she should, almost definitely, be moving on. It shows Lahey at her most mature and honest state, as she speaks about lamenting possible myopic mistakes. The lyrics progress from a state of distraught disbelief, to a position of indecisiveness, to accepting that she is better off being with someone else (‘I can’t think of anything worse, than never being with somebody else’). For this reason, “I Need to Move On” is Lahey at her most relatable.
The country tinged “Black RMs” is love and bliss and everything you’d hope someone would write about you if they were as loved up as Lahey appears to be. It’s earnest, heartfelt and will fill even the coldest of hearts with the utmost joy. “Black RMs” is Sunday morning in bed, eating breakfast, and being completely content as the sun pierces through the blinds.
Rounding out the album, “I Want To Live With You” pretty much sums up TBOLC to a tee. As much as the song and album is about all your standard themes found in any popular music, TBOLC is about growing up and being happy with where you are. It might not have been where you thought you’d be, with who you thought you’d be with, or doing what you thought you’d be doing; but it’s about learning to love and enjoy what you have. It doesn’t have to be much. As long as you’re having fun, it doesn’t really matter.
The Best Of Luck Club is an album of self-discovery and acceptance. It’s learning to be happy for other people’s successes and knowing when to be grown up enough that you can wish people good luck rather than holding grudges.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Best Of Luck Club is out on 17th May via Dead Oceans. Preorder it HERE
Alex Lahey heads out on tour on the following dates:
Thursday, 6th June – The Gov, Adelaide
Friday, 7th June – Rock Rover, Perth
Thursday, 13th June – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Friday, 14th June – The Basement, Canberra
Saturday, 15th June – The Metro, Sydney
Saturday, 22nd June – The Forum, Melbourne
For more information and tickets head HERE