Written by: TL on 24/11/2014 12:39:41

With album titles referencing Led Zeppelin and larger than life guitar histrionics reminiscent of The Who, Philadelphia quintet Restorations have grown like a prog rock sapling from the punk rock underground. Releasing their third album - "LP3" - just recently, the band are at a point when their home scene has become aware of them - When what they do from now on decides what kind of band they'll be perceived as. Do they falter, do they evolve or do they dig in and fortify their position? The answer, as it turns out, is a bit of the latter and a bit of the intermediate, as "LP3" delivers more of what made "LP2" work while leaving no doubts that it wants to also veer off reservation.

With three guitarists, one of which also doubles as occasional keyboard player (a keyboard mostly appearing as an organ), Restorations have a big enough arsenal to conjure up a considerable wall of noise, and their quality thus far has been found in cinematic pieces where the guitar sound of vintage, rock'n'roll Americana echoed around your ears, conjuring images of long highways and rocky mountains, while guitarist and lead singer Jon Loudon delivered atmosphere-filled narratives with his characteristic, husky voice. It's a sound halfway connected to the more explorative bands in smoky voiced punk rock, such as Make Do And Mend and Titus Andronicus, and halfway completely its own organic, nostalgic self.

"LP3" has these types of songs, with "Misprint", "Most Likely A Spy" and "Separate Songs" standing out the most, and with particularly the former two delivering the kind of anthemic refrains fans will be used to, in form of the infectiously melodious "There's a slow hum on our closed circuit timeline" and the oddly ambivalent "You'll break down today! You'll break down tomorrow!", the anthemic mood of which contrasts the words in a way that piques your interest for the full story of the song, and indeed the album at large. Such tracks showcase Restorations' unique ambiance, a sort of adventurous hum, which makes the world outside your headphones look a shade more vibrant. It's like a persistent feeling of taking a moment, revelling in the greatness of the world while finding yourself with your feet planted on its floor.

There are other tracks however, on "LP3", which sound more like you're being bounced around in the hustle and bustle of the world's machinations, and Restorations' desire to explore this atmosphere is declared early with opener "Wales", which sees Loudon air a raspy yell on top of hypnotic bass pulses while the guitars communicate in wailing tones, ironically sounding more like 'whales' than like 'Wales' and figuring in a noisy mood that isn't melodic in any obvious way. Similar experimentation is found in the cantering, almost psychedelic-sounding "Tiny Prayers", which rumbles about unstoppably like traffic around you on a highway drive. In tracks like these, and in "No Castle" as well, it feels like the band has opted to pursue weird guitar-based ideas to a loud, noisy extreme, leaving Loudon's vocals and lyrics to adapt around them rather than the other way around.

Truthfully, these later types of tracks show a Restorations that is tapping into a stronger kind of power than they did on the former album, but at the same time this newfound wildness isn't quite tamed - It roams in a way that doesn't allow for the songs to impact you quite as directly through Loudon's rousing vocal sermons. This makes some of the songs on "LP3" more of an acquired taste, which all things considered is quite okay. It makes the record stand out from its predecessor and gives you something new to wrap your head around, while the release still has enough songs of a familiar type to keep pre-existing fans happy as well. As an album it's not quite the leap in consistency that one could have hoped for, but it still builds Restorations' status as a group that can both experiment beyond the song types you hear every day, while also conjuring moments that drag you in like a rallying speech on a topic you didn't know you cared about.

Download: Misprint, Most Likely A Spy, Separate Songs
For The Fans Of: Titus Andronicus, Make Do And Mend, Signals Midwest, Fucked Up

Release date 27.10.2014
SideOneDummy / Tiny Engines / Poison City / Paper + Plastick / Cavity / Evil Weevil

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