Alex Lahey: I Love You Like A Brother

- Following up from her debut EP B Grade University, Alex Lahey hasn’t taken long to deliver a ten-track full length record that is leaps and bounds ahead of her first effort. It's still got what we liked, though, full of the same witty lyrics, pumping guitars and to-the-point realness, Lahey has hit the nail on the head with her signature pop-rock sound.

Opening track Everyday’s The Weekend starts with an infectious, simple guitar riff, which carries from beneath Lahey's vocals like a driving force for the entirety of the song. Simple but effective lyrics like “...fuck work / you’re here / every day’s the weekend” set the tone for the song, (and for the entire record, which is full of bittersweet pop-rock songs about love and heartbreak). Not every number is an anthemic uptempo rager though – she also delivers on the angsty ballads here as well, although even those have a certain zest: Backpack chugs along with witty, syncopated lyrics like “...your accidental existentialism is catching up with me” lying over melodic guitar licks and soft drums.

Easily overshadowed by the excellent guitar and vocal performance is the actual songwriting. Take a step back to consider and, yeah, Lahey can write a good song, a melodic banger that gets stuck in your head on repeat. Full of clever tricks and chord changes, Lahey really nails the pop-rock writing on this one. I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself utilises a clever half-time section in the bridge (something that is really hard to do without making everything drag), and all of her work has that pizazz that makes you want to deliver an award winning performance, singing along in the car. To even have one or two tracks on a record that earwormy is a feat in itself, but to have your whole record full of contagiously catchy songs is the marking of real talent.

There is a flipside though: at times Alex Lahey can sound a little same samey, but this isn’t inherently a bad thing. Like Courtney Barnett’s songs can all sound the same to the uneducated listener, Lahey has a distinct sound that, upon first listen, can be too uniform. Still, it really does deliver who she is, what she's doing: a signature sound that gives everything she plays the real flavour of Lahey. When you come back for a second listen (which you will), you can really hear the slight differences in tone that stick this cohesive record together, very strongly.

Alex Lahey has got a good thing going: such a confident, solid identity at this stage of a career is really impressive. If pop-rock littered with realness, witty lyrics and funky guitar riffs is your thing, then you’re gonna be smashing the repeat button on this one.

- Olivia Shoesmith.


Album Details

Album Title: I Love You Like A Brother
Artist: Alex Lahey
Record Label: (Nicky Boy / Caroline / Universal)