Alex Lahey: The Answer Is Always Yes (Liberation) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 22nd, 2024  

Alex Lahey

The Answer Is Always Yes

Liberation

May 17, 2023 Issue #71 - Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout Bookmark and Share


Back in 2017, Alex Lahey’s breakthrough debut, I Love You Like a Brother, offered a clutch of frantic, chaotic rock pleasures. Her follow-up, 2019’s The Best of Luck Club, gifted us a series of touching, raw moments drawn from a palette expanded to include flourishes of electronica and piano. Here on The Answer Is Always Yes, Lahey confidently delivers a set of big, bombastic tunes garlanded by biting wit, smiling cynicism, and candied power-pop hooks.

The sound is streamlined, polished, and the songs pitch-perfectly performed, but that new-found sheen belies a darkness in Lahey’s latest that cleverly casts its shadow within that sonic realm of glistening sunshine.

Her knack for taking a memorable turn of phrase and turning it into a chorus refrain is at its height on the irresistible “Makes Me Sick”—“I like you so much it makes me sick/And I wouldn’t change it.” While on the surging “You’ll Never Get Your Money Back” Lahey takes an over-the-shoulder look at a broken relationship, noting that while “I tried to leave the country like I was a crook/Tried every religion but they never took,” there’s always the perceived upside—“Now I can go out with whoever I want.”

It’s rare to find arena-prepped choruses attached to songs with depth and humor, but here Lahey has them by the handful, be it with “On the Way Down” (“Put your hand up on my shoulder/While you look over the other/Waiting for a better offer”) or the shimmering “Shit Talkin’” (“You know, the thing about seeing people/Is deciding what you want them to see”).

These are relatable, smart, funny songs that take place in “parking lots and coffee shops” (“Permanent”), cheap holiday rental homes (the moving drug buddy love song “The Sky is Melting”), and, on the frankly magnificent title track, the “backseat of a hybrid.” Lahey grounds the whole endeavor in the everyday, but elevates those experiences in a pointedly emotional and supremely accessible way, making The Answer Is Always Yes an absolute, unfettered joy. (www.alexlahey.com.au)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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