amiright? does it again with a stellar indie-rock album just rough enough around the edges. Lavender House, the band’s 3rd full-length, includes some previously released tracks but is largely composed of material familiar to only those most dedicated of fans. Thick with honesty and emotion, amiright? takes themselves just seriously enough to show dedication to their craft while sparing themselves the burden of pretentiousness. They’re a very active band, playing a lot of shows and making a lot of friends — some of whom show up as collaborators on this record.
Lavender House is coherent despite being recorded in multiple locations at multiple times — a testament to how clearly the group understands their identity. Self-confidence and self-comfort come across in the way the songs are written and mixed, retaining their imperfections and a rawness that brings vulnerability. In preparation for this review, I sat alone in my bedroom drinking coffee and listening to this album while the streetlight shone in and everything felt profoundly right. I felt so seen by this album, so carried to a place of belonging. In Lavender House, amiright?somehow evokes the sweetness of nostalgia, but for the present moment.
The band put out three songs leading up to the album’s release. “Assabet” is a tender portrayal of conflict. The repeating refrain of “why won’t you say what you said to me?” delivered with a fitting exasperation, really captures the feelings of discomfort and confusion. The song is catchy and upbeat, much like a moment when all you can do to avoid feeling like you’re losing your mind is just to laugh.
“Assabet” was released along with “Right Eye” — a fitting pair of juxtaposed moods. The mellow intro of “Right Eye” shifts into a heavy but still downtrodden sound. The verses are dissonant and monotone.
“Listen To That Horn” was also released early, with that good good indie-rock anthem vibe, it shifts between sweet falsetto-y longing and a chorus that indicates “this is where people in the crowd start jumping around and slow-moshing” when they play live.
Personally, I also really love the opening track “Rodeo”, which gets the album off to a very strong start. The fourth track “This Sucks/This Is The Worst Part” might be my favorite. I love the way it shifts so fluently in dynamics, starting off quiet and melancholic before erupting and then disintegrating into chaos.
The way amiright?’s style sits in the middle of a many-part rock Venn Diagram is really exemplified by this album. They combine the experimentation of psych-rock, the melodic infectiousness of pop, the sludge of stoner metal, the intimacy of singer-songwriter music, the boisterousness of punk, the oddly calming dissonance of shoegaze, and the ambivalence of grunge to create a fairly universally likable amalgamated sound. Their signature style is catchy yet unpolished, familiar yet unexpected. Plus, they’re a young band so I anticipate that we’ve got many years of listening to them grow and evolve ahead of us. I look forward to it.