REVIEW: Restorations – ‘LP3’


Artist: Restorations
Album: LP3
Label: SideOneDummy Records
Genre: Punk

Third albums can be a major pain. While most artists are either trying one too many new things in a desperate attempt to reclaim the audience they lost or scraping the bottom of the barrel with repeated ideas that they’re too afraid to let go of, there’s a major scarcity of groups who can toe the line successfully.

I was one of many who first learned of Restorations when they had been picked up by SideOneDummy in 2012, and have been keeping LP and LP2 in heavy rotation ever since. So when news first spread about a follow-up, appropriately titled LP3, (as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!), I was excited, yet simultaneously apprehensive about finding out just which path would be chosen by this Pennsylvania five-piece.

At first, it was pretty hard to see a rhyme or reason to the album’s texture-heavy cover, but after reaching the album’s midpoint it come to mind that it’s practically a foreshadowing of what’s to come. From beginning to end there are no two songs that sound alike, and that could very well be the best part to LP3. I’ve always had a tough time providing a cut-and-dry explanation of Restorations’ sound, and it’s only become more difficult with this record. While in the past I’ve relied on playful titles like “grown-ass punk” and “rock and roll, played by grown-ass punks,” this record has made me want to add some more to the list, like “a punk band that sounds like U2, but with attitude,” among others that would likely be nitpicked and argued. All jokes aside, it’s clear to see that the group have grown since their past album released two years ago. When in the past their music sounded very one-dimensional (although it had been executed in an incredible way), things seem much more ambitious and experimental this time around.

“Wales” kicks the album off with its long-winding intro that sounds just as equally influenced by The Hold Steady as it does by The Boss himself. As strong of an opening as the track is for the eight tracks to come, “Separate Songs” makes for a rather jarring transition, and its not the only one to be found on the record. Even in the context of a full album, the promotional single still hits just as hard, as does “Tiny Prayers,” which served as another early preview for what was in store. To boot, the second half of LP3 sounds just as consistent, which is a rarity. The guitar solo (if that’s even the appropriate word to use for that intricate finger-tapped portion) at the closing end of”No Castle” remains to be one of my most favorite parts in any Restorations song to date. The album is wrapped by “It’s Not,” which is regrettably the first real time where the band hits every aspect of what could be considered a great song in the best way possible. Featuring powerful performances by all members, enough dynamics to keep things interesting, and great lyrics, it’s definitely one of the most memorable tracks to come from this bunch.

While nowhere near perfect, LP3 is still a giant step forward for Restorations. In fact, I’d go as far as to label this more of what I’d like to call a graceful stumble that eases into regained footing, because of how well they complete the album. There’s most certainly something here for everybody within this album’s nine tracks, but there are likely going to be only a select few that listeners will universally agree on.

If there’s one thing proven here by the band, it’s that Restorations have officially carved out a sound for themselves that’s an entity of its own, and is still far from becoming recycled, thanks to the heaping piles of new ideas that are continually added to the mix.

SCORE: 8.5/10
Review written by Adrian Garza (follow him on Twitter)

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