AotMC #19: August 2016Label: Bloodshot Records
Lydia Loveless - Real LP/CD
w/ The Printout Zine
Included The Printout #19: 12 pages with reviews, rants, books and films by Dave Rodriguez, Nolan Smock, Richard Yvarra & Chaz!
"Lydia Loveless' fourth LP eases in with a longing pedal steel pulled up behind a tremolo'd strum and steady drumbeat. It riles up into a rock song by the time the singer hits the chorus and the hooks are set. Loveless grew up on a farm in Coshocton, Ohio with a Dad who owned a country music bar. From an early age, she'd wake up to find musicians from the night before crashed on her couch. She ditched the town when she was old enough and found the punk scene down in big city Columbus, a town known for its punked-up DIY rock'n'roll and endless parties courtesy of Ohio State University. It should then come as no surprise that her twang-ish songwriting inspired from the books of Lucinda Williams and Loretta Lynn also carries shades of The Replacements, Hank III, The Supersuckers and Old 97s. Over the course of four records though, it's become quite tailored into her own singular style.
After the heartbroken bite of opener “Same To You” fades, a barked Ramones-esque count-off of “1... 2... 3... 4...” kicks off “Longer,” a potential half-speed countrified tribute to the band with muted down-stroke guitars and quick verse lines leading to a memorable drawn-out, punchy chorus. It's back to longing and loss on “More Than Ever” as the narrator navigates a faltering, faithless marriage with a heart-pulling, resigned curl in her voice. “Heaven” picks up the pace just a little with a disco-ish rhythm and funky guitar line spiked into a deceptively upbeat downer of a song that repeats “no one goes to heaven” at the end of each verse. From what I can decipher, the subject is losing faith in a relationship like one might lose religion. The schism grows and there's no hope or heaven to be found anywhere in the broken, divided relationship. It may end in a desperate murder-suicide, but I haven't quite fully figured it out yet. It's pretty brilliant, not only in its wording, but in it's oddly cheery danceability. Whatever happens as the song ends, there's still no heaven, no happy ending.
“Out On Love” babbles along as a slow, gospel blues dirge set to an ambient backdrop of wavering, droning guitar feedback. It's the most experimental track on the record and it fits right in as the mid-record hinge point. A sentimental sneer carries “Midwestern Guys” into the realm of snide Westerberg-isms (Replace-ments) while “Bilbao” turns it back to a seemingly sweet tale of unrequited love and a detached partner. It gets quite dark though as the narrator flips the refrain from “marry me, there's no where in the world that I would rather be” to “bury me, there's no where in the world....” Listen for the subtly violent change in the music right as the word flips. That pun hasn't been done like that since In Utero. I'm out of room now, so I'll have to leave the rest to imagination. You'll manage...." -chaz