By Jacqueline Sun
In a time of political unrest, general social anxiety, and displaced people far from home, music is a welcome respite. Philadelphia-based rock band Restorations tackle these issues head on in their recent release, LP5000. It’s a cathartic and energetic album, meant to be played at the highest volume and sung along with at the top of your voice. Restorations takes on the moral responsibility of confronting the problems that we all face – a task that artists rarely take on, though an important one in the current charged sociopolitical climate. It’s not an easy ask, but Restorations navigates it with sincerity and intelligence.
A theme throughout LP5000 is the brave act of leaning on others during times of turmoil and difficulty. The first track “St.” is a banger with loud drum and guitar rolls. It sets the tone for the album, with vocalist Jon Loudon proclaiming “I’ll tell you what you already know / You can’t do this alone”. The album challenges the problems of the present day. Loudon discusses issues of gentrification in “Remains” with cutting lyrics such as “Can’t afford to live in the town you were born in / When you tell them where you’re from are you telling the truth?”. The sharp truth of his lyrics contrasts with the catchiness of the guitar lines. He addresses the growing pains of become an adult and dealing with shit that life does not prepare you for in “Nonbeliever.” It features a repetitive, rolling guitar progression that grounds Loudon’s soaring vocals. The melancholy track “Melt” goes at Donald Trump without saying his name, speaking to the widespread uneasiness in the political landscape with “Scared since September / No, I don’t want to hear that name again”.
Despite the gloom of the lyrics, the Restorations manage to make their tracks anthemic and upbeat. Songs “The Red Door” and “Caretaker” are danceable and energetic, even as the lyrics deal with topics of gentrification and all-consuming love. “Caretaker” in particular, features a glorious guitar solo that provides a musical breather from the heaviness of the reality painted in the lyrics. The closer “Eye” ends the album on a somber, moody note. Discussing the persistence of news and barrage of information through technology, the song builds up quietly to a noisy, headbanging release ending the album with the line “Forever further on my way back home”.
Clocking in under 30 minutes, the album is over as soon as it begins; however, the breadth and depth of the album makes it feel much longer. The themes are fully fleshed out, and the lyricism is clear and smart, with just the right amount of instrumental heft to make it memorable. Restorations manages to balance taking on societal critique while still speaking personally with the listener. Throughout the album, Loudon addresses an unnamed friend and we believe it could be us. Loudon speaks to the issues that we all face and can empathize with. We already know that we can’t do it alone, and Restorations is here to face our problems with us.