“I always liked you / because you talked about the future,” muses Jon Loudon, mouthpiece for Philadelphia’s Restorations on ‘LP3’, and it’s a theme he returns to time and again throughout their triumphant and sprawling return.
When you hit your thirties, songs about broken hearts and girls no longer do the trick. Instead, you’re growing old, you’re planning for the future, and you’re constantly worrying about money, your job, your partner and your responsibilities. It’s a world Restorations seem all too familiar with. They’re stuck between stations of former youth and glory and the creeping sense of getting old(er). ‘LP3’ is an album – sonically and lyrically – that can only be made thanks to the ravages of time, and it wears its world-weariness like a badge of honour.
It’s also monumentally exciting. It’s like listening to The Hold Steady, Modest Mouse, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam all at the same time. Indeed, every time I listen to Restorations I feel like I could add another band to the list. The beauty, however, is that while they remind me of so many bands, they never sound like anyone else. Whether it’s Jon Loudon’s phenomenal vocals, or the triple guitar attack or the repetitious rhythms that underpin everything, it’s all so unmistakably Restorations.
What is truly great about ‘LP3’ though is that there’s finally some light to the dark. While the juddering ‘Wales’ and ‘Tiny Prayers’ stick closely to the blueprint established on ‘LP2’, the real highlights on ‘LP3’ are when Restorations slow things down a touch. ‘Separate Songs’ is absolutely gorgeous, and arguably one of the finest songs of the year, while ‘All My Home’ sees the band really fill out their sound with some fantastic instrumentation and arrangements.
While ‘LP2’ was, for me at least, a frustrating listen, ‘LP3’ sees the band fully realise their potential and sound. It’s a mature rock album for mature people experiencing mature problems. It’s serious and neurotic and dark – but it also has the fist in the air moments that make want you to sing along and believe in every word. It’s the sort of album that makes you acknowledge your issues and hang-ups and demons but wills you through to the other side. Blessed with so much heart and soul, it’s positively life-affirming.
‘LP3’ by Restorations is out on 27 October on SideOneDummy Records.
Words byRob Mair (@BobNightMair)