Chastity Belt: Live Laugh Love (Suicide Squeeze) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  

Chastity Belt

Live Laugh Love

Suicide Squeeze

Apr 09, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After five years away, Walla Walla, Washington’s low key dream rock legends Chastity Belt have new stock on the shelf with their fifth album, Live Laugh Love. The promise held in the so slyly egregious title is great. Chastity Belt have proven over the course of, hell, it’s really over a decade now, that they can subvert expectation like a toss of the hair, and so it’s worth a smile to know the four-piece have slapped this moniker on their loneliest, most purple-bruised record to date.

Lead single “Hollow” has guitarist Lydia Lund curl notes around Gretchen Grimm’s bass drum while Julia Shapiro slowly exhales J Mascis notions like “Waiting for some sign / Wasting time / Breathe in the hollow air / Nothing’s there” and it’s not exactly slow but it’s precisely sad and it’s not sparse but it’s surely more sparse than the tag of “shoegaze” might allow. Sounds like a delicate spider falling asleep.

The record is so well-worked, just so honed and master-crafted that it ends up sounding effortless. Check the deceiving simplicity of “It’s Cool”—that monochrome, near monotone vocal, those clear, straight bass notes from Annie Truscott, “What’s the point of anything / If I always feel the same?” And then a garage band crunch chorus? Well, that’s the kind of slack, lazy day sound that only comes from old fashioned hard graft and crushing emotional devastation.

The tunes sneak up on you, just like they did when you first heard 2013’s “Seattle Party” and thought you might be awkwardly in love. They don’t deal in anything as crass as hooks, the melodies are invites, come if you want to—the restraint they show on “Clumsy” not to turn the thing into a barnstorming alternative rock (c) hit is just about the epitome of their cool. That song has the words “I don’t want to be a bitch but I think you should grow up” and that’s as good a line as any rock record might need.

So they’re not just funny, they don’t only toss out chiming beauties like “Kool-Aid” and nostalgic postcards like “I-90 Bridge,” but they have lines in them like “Riding bikes across the I-90 Bridge / 9 at night / This feels like flying” that make you want to have Chastity Belt document your life in song and make it sound only half as wistful, a tenth as romantic.

Saying it’s a lonely record at the top of the page? Maybe that’s wrong. Because it’s a warm record, however cool they are, and it’s a celebratory record however down it sounds. The celebration is in the camaraderie of the band, of the musical interplay, and of the sweet scenes they conjure, the wry laughter they boot out of you. You’ll be listening to this for weeks, months, especially the ideal kiss-off closing track “Like That.” “We stayed up late / I used to do that / I don’t know why I never called you back,” and really do things get any more simple, any more complicated than that? Hard to be lonely wrapped in an album like this.

Now it’s time to show personal restraint and not end with a callback or pun on the album title. Let’s just say: Great record. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 7/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.