Album Reviews: Margo Price, Lazy Eyes, Public Practice
Margo Price — That's How Rumors Get Started (Nashville)
With every album, Nashville singer Margo Price has evolved conceptions around modern country music into something beautifully complex and excitingly political. Her latest album offers some of her catchiest tracks yet, with a depth to the compositions that lets every infectious hook feel earned. This is plain to see in the range of voicing in "That's How Rumors Get Started" where every tense chorus burst is tinged with a sense of darkness. There's still rock band energy in tracks like "Letting Me Down," where Price drives her song home and keeps everyone rushing forward. "Stone Me" touches on Price's own struggles with sobriety and facing naysayers, with a shockingly personal look at how even your harshest critics miss the mark. Price hits a sharp pop high on "Gone To Stay," with deceptively simple melodies that let the song tell its story effectively.
Robert Counts — What Do I Know (Franklin, TN)
For a much more brooding and classic take on the country rock sound, Robert Counts seems to be questioning everything. It's kind of brilliant to hear a song so akin to the stadium country-rock stars right now name off a dozen clichés only to question those same ideas. It feels like brilliant parody, while nailing every musical detail like a Weird Al track would. Whether it's self-mocking, a way to stand out in the industry or just self-aware genre dissection it's fun to listen to. Whether Counts' intent is to lampoon or actually support the ways of life he mentions is secondary, but it's a fun lyrical take either way. You can stay for the shredding solos, Bon Jovi-like riff or to sing along, and it works on each level.
The Lazy Eyes — EP1 (Sydney, Australia)
It seems there's simply no shortage of great modern psych acts in Australia these days, and The Lazy Eyes keep that track record strong. With brief but often experimental little EP to their name now, this band is already showing promise as both a fun and boundary-pushing listen. "The Seaside" ebbs and flows just like a storm, going from calm bursts of synth to explosive band riff-offs. And it's the serenity the band pulls out of many of the smooth moments that really shows their mastery of tone. Just as it seems like they've taken a fun and pop-fuelled approach on "Tangerine" the shifts to a slowed-down fiery jam keeps things from getting stale and lets us know this group is ready to get even weirder on their next outing. Luckily the band is able to escape the McCartney-esque irony of their pop sensibilities on "Cheesy Love Song" as they add wondrous cosmic colours to their slow-jam.
Storry — For No One (Toronto)
Grooves and silky vocals fly from the start with Storry, as they mix warm harmonies into a delicious R&B flow. The choir-like charm of every melody is beautiful, and it lends an infectious energy to the song as it goes. Short-but-sweet, this song will pull you in and leave you wanting more given its almost interlude-like time here. The bass slinks with a lush sense of soul too, that makes the track feel equally lounge-like and intimate at once. Though Storry likely could have gotten even more out of the rich heart of this tune, it truly never outstays its welcome. As a flavour sampler for a new album, this is a promising track that sooths you down.
Public Practice — Gentle Grip (New York City)
Parts Devo, LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, Peaches, and modern art-rock, Public Practice make electronically infused alternative music with a fierce bite. Unpredictable, angular and unhinged, this is music that's always ready to jump off in a new direction. The thumping rush of "Moon" moves been meditative chanting and punk drives like its second nature, producing a satisfying build up of dynamic energy. You'll want to break out into frantic dancing to "Each Other," all the while the choral shouts just make you want to let out even more energy. The groove of "See You When I Want To" is dangerous in its funk, and the smoky delivery in every other aspect of the song just adds to its sinister allure. Public Practice harness a lot of Devo quirk into "Compromised" all the while going all out in their endless hooks to outdo their own inspiration.